NITI Aayog meets pvt colleges in state

NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar addresses during 91st annual general meeting of Indian Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata. (PTI Photo)

NITI Aayog held a meeting with 40 entrepreneurs and representatives of private medical colleges from across the state here on Saturday to seek their opinions on linking functional district hospitals with new private medical colleges, which has been opposed by public health activists for the fear of 'corporatisation of public hospitals'.

In Karnataka, which has 30 districts, 17 government medical colleges are attached to district hospitals. The public-private partnership model that the Aayog proposes is to attach existing or set up new private medical colleges to the rest of the district hospitals where no college is attached.

The 250-page document titled 'Concession Agreement Guiding Principles for Setting up Medical Colleges through PPP' that is available on the Aayog's website has drawn comments from medical fraternity across the country, the last date for which has been extended from January 10th to February 10th. The national-level stakeholder's consultative meeting that was scheduled to be held on January 21st has been postponed to February 25th. 

Under the envisioned model, the concessionaire shall build and operate the medical college and also upgrade and maintain the district hospital with a minimum annual student intake of 150 MBBS seats. The district hospitals will need to have 750 beds, half of which will be 'market price beds' and the rest 'regulated beds'. The former is supposed to subsidise the latter. 

"World over, no medical college is Rs. 500 crore. We have suggested lowering the proposed investment expected of us to Rs 200 crore to Rs 300 crore. Also, with a quick turnover, we need not have a built-up area of 2.5 lakh sq ft as proposed. It should be brought down to 1.5 lakh sq feet instead. We have also asked the proposed number of beds to be brought down from 750 beds to 500 beds," Dr Chandrashekhar, Chairman of Cauvery Hospital, Mysore, said. 

Echoing a similar sentiment Dr Bhagavan BC, Professor, Surgery, Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences, Bengaluru, and RGUHS syndicate member said, "It may be easy for those who are already running medical colleges, to start another one, but to invest so much but for beginners, it would be difficult. There are hardly 10 to 12 district hospitals left, others are already attached to government medical colleges. We have to upgrade them to 750-bedded hospital. We have asked whether we can upgrade it to 350 to 500 beds."

Dr S Sacchidanand, Vice-Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), told DH, there were representatives from Kanachur Institute of Medical Sciences and Yenepoya University, Mangalore, representatives from Bagalkot, Bijapur, Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, and Rajarajeshwari Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Shimoga Institute of Medical Sciences and Nanjappa Hospital, Shivamogga, and Cauvery Hospital, Mysore, among many others.

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