To overcome the shortage of doctors in the state, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to increase the number of seats at its two medical colleges, a senior minister said Tuesday.
"The state cabinet Monday decided to increase the number of graduation and postgraduation seats at the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) in Shimla and Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College at Tanda in Kangra district from this session," state Health Minister Rajeev Bindal told IANS.
He said the number of undergraduate seats at the IGMC had been increased to 100 from 65. Nine postgraduate seats had been added at the IGMC and 11 at Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College at Tanda.
The hill state is facing an acute shortage of doctors, especially specialists, particularly in tribal areas.
To tide over the problem, the government has already started taking the services of private practitioners. Recently, Himachal Pradesh engaged private anaesthetists.
"A private anaesthetist would be paid Rs.5,000 per day irrespective of the surgeries the doctor performed," Bindal said.
He said the department had already engaged the services of private anaesthetists at Chamba, Hamirpur and Una districts.
"We are finalising the names of private specialists in medicine, paediatrics, orthopedics, cardiology and surgery whose services will be taken from time to time and a fixed lucrative remuneration will be paid to attract more specialists," he added.
The government is also planning to rope in doctors from neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana.