Non - MBBS teachers ceiling reduced from 30 percent to 15 percent in new NMC regulations
New Delhi: In a major change in the requirements of MBBS courses in India, the newly constituted apex medical regulator, National Medical Commission (NMC) has reduced the ceiling for the hiring of non-MBBS teachers in medical colleges to teach various preclinical subjects and put the bar at 15 per cent only. This number was earlier set at 30 percent in the previous norms
The information to this effect comes with the publication of the regulations- Minimum requirements of MBBS admissions and establishment of medical colleges amendments- in the official gazette. These regulations will be applicable to medical colleges being established from the 2021-22 academic session.
Earlier, the commission, while putting the draft of these regulations on the public domain, had proposed the non-medical teachers hiring cap at 30 percent, continuing with the policy that was there with the erstwhile MCI. However, now the ceiling has been reduced to 15 percent after thorough perusal and feedback from the various stakeholders.
As per the draft, non-medical teachers can be recruited in six departments — anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and microbiology, biochemistry and statistician — in the department of community medicine.
According to the norms laid down by the erstwhile Medical Council of India, up to 30% faculty for first and second-year medicos were said to comprise those who are not undergraduates in MBBS -. This all had started due to the scarcity of PG doctors who could serve as faculty and consequently the earlier regulator had allowed non-MBBS with a general MSc degree to be employed in medical colleges for non-clinical subjects. Hence, over the period of time, even non-MBBS with masters and doctorate in life sciences started being recruited as faculty in the majority of the medical colleges.
As of now based on MCI regulations , up to 30% of faculty members, who teach various pre-clinical subjects to first and second-year students in medical colleges, do not have MBBS degrees.
However, in its development process to reform the teaching factor from now on across all the institutes, the NMC has now changed the criteria for the recruitment of teaching staff of all departments of medical colleges in the recently released Minimum requirements of MBBS admissions.
As per the latest regulations, in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, non-medical teachers may be appointed to the extent of 15%of the total number of posts in the department subject to non-availability of medical teachers. These mentioned non-medical teachers and the Statistician in the Department of Community Medicine should possess qualification in that particular subject from a recognized university as per requirements in Teacher Eligibility Qualification Regulations.
It is to be mentioned that for biochemistry, the hiring limit was a whooping 50 percent which as now been jolted down to 15 percent. Moreover, the new regulations made no such specifications on the ceiling for pharmacology and microbiology.
The move comes in line with the demand of a major section of the medical fraternity that is is rooting for phasing out of the non-medical teachers from medical colleges.
Speaking to The New Indian Express on the development, officials in the NMC said that the amends were made in the draft norms as it was felt that for the new competency-based medical education, it is rational for doctors under training to be taught largely by those who have a degree in medicine themselves.
"It was earlier thought to continue with the existing practice, but the norms were later revised after the deliberations and feedback from various stakeholders," a senior official told TNIE.
Meanwhile, certain sources in the commission have clarified to the daily that the new norms will guide the new appointments but will not have a direct impact on those already employed.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported about another reform made by the NMC wherein to promote the establishment of medical colleges across the country, the NMC removed the provision of the requirement of minimum five acres of land for setting up a medical college and it's affiliated teaching hospitals.
The new Regulation has deleted the quantum of land required for setting up a medical college and its affiliated teaching hospitals (all buildings are expected to conform to existing building bye-laws).
There are many new features in these regulations that would promote better medical teaching. Besides having regular teaching, the rules also call for smaller group teaching to promote better understanding of concepts. The size of each batch for such small group teaching shall be about 15 students. The common resource pool of teaching rooms, student practical laboratories, museums and lecture theaters and any other available area that can be utilized for teaching purposes as prescribed in these regulations shall all be utilized for small group teaching and shared by the teaching departments.
The rules also call for every medical college shall have one Rural Health Training Center affiliated to it
All medical colleges wanting to offer MBBS course and renew their seats from the medical regulator, will now compulsorily have their official website where certain details need to be published for the general public. This effect is set to bring more transparency in the operations at all medical colleges across the country as all the information pertaining to the medical institutes and the admission procedures being conduced there will be available online and the malpractice of some unscrupulous elements duping the innocent medical aspirants will expectedly reduce.
The requirement for the number of beds in a medical college hospital has alsbeen reduced from 530 to 430 for a 100-seat college, and from 930 to 830 for a 200-seat college, according to the new regulations notified. The beds required in various departments of a teaching hospital have been rationalised to align with the annual student intake, teaching time to be spent in clinical specialties and the minimum clinical material required for undergraduate medical training which has resulted in about 10 per cent reduction in teaching bed needs compared to the earlier regulations. The human resource of teaching faculty has also been rationalised under the new regulations. Over and above the minimum prescribed faculty, the provision for 'visiting faculty' has been made to enhance the quality of training, the ministry said.
The medical college and its affiliating teaching hospital should provide for proportionate additional beds, infrastructure, faculty and another human resource in any speciality depending upon the needs and patient load.
In tier 1 and tier 2 cities, hilly and north-east states and notified tribal areas, the campus could also be on two plots of land – one housing the teaching hospital and the other the medical college with hostels for students and interns, the notification stated.
If the campus is housed in more than one plot of land, the distance between each one of these plots should be less than 10 kms or less than that of 30 minutes travelling time. "Provided that where the government district hospital is being considered for use as the teaching hospital of a medical college, all constituents of the district hospital, even if they are on two plots of land, will be considered as the affiliated teaching hospital, provided that the main district hospital has at least 300 beds or in Hilly and North-East states has 250 beds," it said.
According to the new regulations, every medical institution shall have a skills laboratory where students can practice and improve skills pre-specified in the curriculum. The purpose of the skills laboratory is to provide a safe and non-threatening environment for students to learn, practice and be observed performing skills in a simulated environment thus mitigating the risks involved in direct patient exposure without adequate preparation and supervision. The skills laboratory shall have a total area of at least 600 sq m for intake up to 150 MBBS students annually and 800 sq m for intakes of 200 and 250 MBBS students annually, and should have trainers or mannequins required to achieve skills outlined in the competency-based undergraduate curriculum document, the regulations added.
It also defines a Medical Education Unit for training medical teachers in educational pedagogy. The space required for Library and the number of books and journals have been rationalized and reduced. Student counselling services has been mandated recognizing the increasing stress observed amongst medical students and residents in recent times.
Recognizing that a well-functioning hospital is at the core of medical training, the new regulation now mandates the availability of a fully functional 300 bed multi-speciality hospital for at least 2 years at the time of application for establishing a new medical college (the earlier regulations did not specify the period of functionality). The beds required in the various departments of the teaching hospital have been rationalized to align with the annual student intake, teaching time to be spent in the clinical specialties and the minimum clinical material required for undergraduate medical training which has resulted in about 10% reduction in teaching bed needs compared to the earlier regulations.
The human resource of teaching faculty has also been rationalized in the new Regulation. Over and above the minimum prescribed faculty, provision for "visiting faculty" has been made to enhance quality of training.
Two new teaching departments have now become mandatory in all medical college hospitals for the training of undergraduate medical students. These include the Department of Emergency Medicine (which has replaced the earlier Casualty Department) and will ensure access and prompt, appropriate response to emergencies particularly trauma; and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation which shall fill a large gap for those in need of comprehensive rehabilitative care.
The Regulation has also outlined "desirable" and "aspirational" goals beyond the minimum requirements stated in the standards so as to stimulate medical institutions to strive for excellence. These elements will be utilized by the National Medical Commission while rating the medical institutions in the country.