The number of doctors that have taken No Objection Certificates (NOC) from the Karnataka Medical Council to practice in a different state has raised eyebrows over whether the state has been failing to retain its doctors or whether there is a shortage of medical professionals in Karnataka.
Going by the statistics that the Karnataka Medical Council (KMC) has tabulated, out of 1.28 lakh doctors that registered with the KMC, 56,703 have taken a NOC to practice in other states. KMC has the responsibility of registering all allopathy doctors.
Dr H Veerabhadrappa, president, KMC, said the data has been gathered over the years. However, the Indian Medical Registry, maintained by the Indian Medical Council has a different figure to tell. As per the Indian Medical Registry, there are 1.19 lakh doctors in the state.
Dr Veerabhadrappa attributed these numbers to students from other states studying in Karnataka. “Students from all over the country come to Karnataka and study. They go back to their hometowns to practice. Hence these numbers,” said Dr Veerabhadrappa.
However, when DH verified with RGUHS, Dr S Sachidananda, vice-chancellor, RGUHS said that Karnataka had 8,000 undergraduate seats and 2,800 post-graduate seats. Of these, only about 30% were taken by students from other states.
Responding to this, Dr Nagendra Swamy, principal coordinator, Federation of Healthcare Associations, Karnataka said that the numbers seemed unrealistic. “I do not think these figures are right,” he ascertained.
Dr Ravindra, president, IMA Rajajinagar, also expressed a similar opinion. “The KMC has to update data to the Indian Medical Registry. Why do the numbers vary? If the KMC data is right, then policymaking will be affected as the other registry has wrong data,” he said.
Citing the annual health report by the department of health and family welfare, Dr Ravindra said that there were 24,523 establishments that have been registered under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act. “Even if it is two doctors per establishment, that would imply that there is a shortage, if Karnataka is just left with these many doctors,” he said.
Dr Pankaj Kumar Pandey, commissioner of the department of health and family welfare, said that this would be an issue that the department might be concerned with. “Students come from other states as medical education is good here. We also have single establishment doctors. The numbers could match that way,” he said.