New Delhi: Through a written reply, the MOS Health, Shri Ashwani Kumar Choubey recently informed about the various steps taken by the government to issue the address of shortage of doctors in the country.
Stating that India had a doctor-population ratio of 1:884 when considering both Allopathy and AYUSH practitioners together, the minster informed that the Central Government has taken various remedial steps to increase number of doctors and Specialists in the country.
These steps include:
(i) The ratio of teachers to students has been revised from 1:1 to 1:2 for all MD/MS disciplines and 1:1 to 1:3 in subjects of Anaesthesiology, Forensic Medicine, Radiotherapy, Medical Oncology, Surgical Oncology and Psychiatry in all medical colleges across the country. Further, teacher: student ratio in public funded Government Medical Colleges for Professor in MD/MS courses has been increased from 1:2 to 1:3 in all clinical subjects and for Associate Prof. from 1:1 to 1:2 if the Associate Prof. is a unit head. This would result in increase in number of specialists in the country.
(ii) DNB qualification has been recognized for appointment as faculty to take care of shortage of faculty.
(iii) Enhancement of maximum intake capacity at MBBS level from 150 to 250.
(iv) Enhancement of age limit for appointment/ extension/ re-employment against posts of teachers/dean/principal/ director in medical colleges from 65-70 years. (v) relaxation in the norms of setting up of Medical College in terms of requirement for land, faculty, staff, bed/bed strength and other infrastructure.
(vi) Strengthening/upgradation of State Government Medical Colleges for starting new PG courses/Increase of PG seats.
(vii) Establishment of New Medical Colleges by upgrading district/referral hospitals preferably in underserved districts of the country.
(viii) Strengthening/ upgradation of existing State Government/Central Government Medical Colleges to increase MBBS seats.
(ix) Requirement of land for establishment of medical college in metropolitan cities as notified under Article 243P(c) of the Constitution of India has been dispensed with.
Also, in order to encourage doctors to work in remote and difficult areas, the Medical Council of India, with the previous approval of Central Government, has amended the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 to provide:
50% reservation in Post Graduate Diploma Courses for Medical Officers in the Government service, who have served for at least three years in remote and difficult areas; and
Incentive at the rate of 10% the marks obtained for each year in service in remote or difficult areas as upto the maximum of 30% of the marks obtained in the entrance test for admissions in Post Graduate Medical Courses.
The minister further informed that under the National Health Mission (NHM), financial and technical support is provided to States/UTs to strengthen their healthcare systems including support for insourcing or engagement of doctors, specialist doctors and other staff on contractual basis, based on the requirements posed by the States/UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans (PIPs) within their overall resource envelope. Support is also provided to States/UTs for hard area allowance to specialist doctors for serving in rural and remote areas and for their residential quarters so that they find it attractive to serve in public health facilities in such areas. The States are also encouraged to adopt flexible norms for engaging specialists at public health facilities. These include various mechanisms for ‘contacting in’ and ‘contracting out’ of specialist services, empanelling private medical facilities to provide requisite Specialists and other methods of engaging specialists outside the government system for service delivery at public facilities and the mechanism to include requests for these in the state Program Implementation Plans (PIP) under the National Health Mission. Also, States are advised to put in place transparent policies of posting and transfer, and ensure rational deployment of doctors.