July 10, 2011

Corporates can start medical colleges

The public private partnership (PPP), which has hitherto made impressive strides in building infrastructure, is all set to enter medical education in India. Considering the urgent need for skilled man power in health sector, Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has given green signal to corporates for setting up medical colleges.

Addressing the 13th edition of national seminar on hospital, healthcare management and medico-legal systems at the Symbiosis Internal University (SIU), Lavale, on Saturday, Azad said, "Following the Union government's initiatives to allow corporates in medical education scenario, we are willing to promote PPP in areas where there is an urgent need for more medical institutions." The government, till now, had refrained from allowing corporates to start medical colleges, he added.

"More medical colleges will create more medical seats. This will churn out more medical personnel. This will enable us to offset the acute shortage of manpower, which we are facing now," Azad said at the seminar organized by Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences (SIHS). Even though there are 730,000 doctors and 930,000 nursing personnel on the rolls, a significant number of healthcare professionals are concentrated in urban and semi urban areas, leaving a huge shortage of health manpower at the grassroots level.

Drawing attention to this, Azad said, "With specific focus on increasing the availability of medical resources in India, we have relaxed the requirement of land for opening of more medical colleges. For example, special provision has been made for hilly and other geographically disadvantaged areas."

"I envisage an availability of 50,000 MBBS seats as against the present 35,250 seats and 25,000 postgraduate seats as against 20,000 at present, within the next two to three years," Azad said, adding, "Operationally, these wide-ranging initiatives would definitely bridge the identified crucial gaps in the domain of the requirement of trained health manpower as against prescribed ratio for healthcare delivery system. The challenge now is to ensure that the desired quality of teaching and training is not compromised with, in any manner," said Azad.

Apart from this, the Union government has also relaxed norms describing the teacher-student ratio in medical colleges and other institutions in India, he said.

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