Cabinet nod to 75 new govt medical colleges

Cabinet nod to 75 new govt medical colleges

Move to add over 15,000 MBBS seats

The establishment of these medical colleges will add at least 15,700 MBBS seats in the country. (DH File Photo)

With India having a serious shortfall of doctors, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of 75 new government medical colleges, which would create an additional 15,700 MBBS seats.

The new colleges would be attached to 200-300 bedded district hospitals. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has sanctioned Rs 24,375 crore up to 2021-22 to set up these colleges.

“The establishment of new medical colleges, attached to existing district or referral hospitals, would lead to an increase in the availability of qualified health professionals, improve tertiary care in government sector, utilize existing infrastructure of districts hospitals and promote affordable medical education in the country,” the government says in a brief press note.

However, both the government press note and Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who briefed the media after the Cabinet meeting are silent on the issue of faculty shortage and how the government plans to address such challenges.

Shortage of teaching staff in medical colleges is a big worry in medical education in India. It's a problem even for the first batch of six new AIIMS (at Bhopal, Patna, Raipur, Rishikesh, Bhubaneswar and Jodhpur) that are still not fully functional even after nearly two decades.

The government, however, sanctioned several more AIIMS that are under various stages of approval and construction.

The government had earlier approved to establish 58 new medical colleges attached with existing district or referral hospitals. Of this, 39 medical colleges, have already started functioning, while the remaining 19 would be made functional by 2020-21. Under Phase-II, 24 new medical colleges have been approved.

In a recent study on human resources in healthcare in India, researchers from Public Health Foundation of India showed that India has 4.5 allopathic doctors for every 10,000 people while the World Health Organisation's recommendation is to have a 10:10,000 ratio.

Interestingly, the same study published in the journal BMJ Open also showed that more than 50% of all doctors in India were produced by government medical colleges, and more than 80% of them are employed in private institutions or work as private practitioners.