The functioning of Madhya Pradesh’s medical colleges’ teaching hospitals is regulated by a medical manual which was prepared as far back as 1927. Since then, the manual has not been updated, and the draft copy of a new medical manual, which was prepared by retired IAS officer DS Rai at the instructions of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has been gathering dust in the medical education department for the past five years.
The 1927 medical manual was ‘The Central Provinces and Berar Medical Manual’. The print of the manual — not the manual itself — was revised in 1940. The manual was once again reprinted in 1957, after Madhya Pradesh was carved out of Central Provinces and Berar.
“The medical manual in place was introduced when there was only one medical school in the entire province and the population was much lower. Now, the state has six government medical colleges and several private ones, while the population has swelled to 7.25 crore,” Rai told HT.
As per official sources, Chouhan, during a 2010 visit to Gandhi Medical College (GMC), Bhopal, instructed medical education department officials to prepare a new medical manual to improve the functioning of the teaching hospitals of the government medical colleges in the state.
The then dean Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal Dr Nirbhay Shrivastava was authorised to take a call. He requested Rai to prepare the manual, given his extensive experience in the functioning of the medical education department.
Rai prepared a comprehensive draft which ran into about 625 pages after interacting with stakeholders over a period of one and a half years. He submitted the draft to Dr Shrivastava, who in turn handed over the document to the medical education department.
“The most significant part of the new medical manual was that the responsibility of the authorities was well defined, leaving no room for any confusion or conflict. Hence, nobody could have escaped from his responsibility on any ground,” Rai said.
“The manual also defined duty of each and every person in the hospital, from the ward boy to the doctors — what should be the protocol, right from the time a patient is admitted to the hospital to when he is discharged — the duty of each and everybody was well defined. I don’t know what happened after I submitted the draft,” he said.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Dr Nirbhay Shrivastava said, “The new manual was badly required. People will be surprised to know that even the head of departments in medical colleges have no authority in the functioning of the teaching hospital — it is the superintendent and dean around whom the entire functioning of the hospitals revolves. For instance, if any ward is not clean or the ward boy or any hospital staff don’t perform their duty properly, the HoD has no authority to take any punitive action.”
Director Medical Education Dr GS Patel said he had heard about the medical manual but was not in a position to comment on its status, adding that he will look into it.
Recently, massive irregularities in the functioning of Hamidia hospital — the teaching hospital of GMC — were detected during a surprise inspection by Chouhan. The chief minister ordered the immediate shifting of additional chief secretary (medical education) Prabhanshu Kamal and dean Ulka Shrivastava.