Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has approved an overhaul of medical education in the country, including rationalising land use for setting up colleges, introducing new courses and increasing post-graduate seats by 30 per cent for specialisations.
Amendments to Medical Colleges Regulations (1999) will allow medical colleges to be run in high-rises on 10 acres in metros and grade-A cities.
“Since land-availability is a problem in [these cities], we’ve shifted to the concept of total built area required for essential infrastructure, including the medical college, hostels, hospitals, libraries, etc,” said Dr Ketan Desai, president, Medical Council of India (MCI).
This means Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, for example, can open a medical college on its 15-acre campus in Delhi.
“This will boost healthcare facilities in cities where existing government hospitals can no longer meet exponential growth in population,” said a ministry official who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
There are 300 medical colleges in India that can be run by the government, trusts and societies. These colleges produce 23,000 doctors each year.
“The amendments were needed as there’s an acute shortage of doctors and we need at least 50,000 medical graduates each year. The MCI, however, needs to ensure it keeps out fly-by-night operators who cannot assure quality education and hands-on hospital experience,” said cardiac surgeon Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman, Global Health, which has set up the 43-acre MediCity in Gurgaon.
Other amendments include increasing the post-graduate student-professor ratio to 2:1 from the present 1:1. “This will add 4,000 seats to post-graduate courses,” said the ministry official.