What Steps taken by Govt to address Shortage of doctors in India: Minister informs parliament
New Delhi: The issue of shortage of the required number of doctors in the country was recently brought up in the session of Rajya Sabha wherein the MoS Health informed about the steps being taken by the government to address the crisis.
Pertinently, the country is grappling with acute shortage of doctors and the government has taken several measures to overcome it over the last few years. However, the prescribed doctor-patient ratio by WHO is still not fulfilled.
Seeking information on the same, member Mr Bhunia asked Minister of State in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoS Health) Ashwini Kumar Choubey about the steps Government is going to take up to address this shortage of the required number of doctors in the country.
In context to the measures taken by the government to fulfil the doctor shortage, the minister notified the assembly that as per information provided by Board of Governors in supersession of Medical Council of India (MCI BoG), there are a total 12,01,354 allopathic doctors registered with the State Medical Councils/Medical Council of India as on 30th September 2019.
Assuming 80% availability, it is estimated that around 9.61 lakh doctors may be actually available for active service. It gives a doctor-population ratio of 1:1404 as per current population estimate of 1.35 billion, which is lower than the WHO norm of 1:1000.
Further, replying to the question, the MoS Health submitted several steps to increase the number of seats in various medical educational institutes/medical colleges across the country so as to increase the number of doctors.
For increasing MBBS seats across the medical colleges, the government has enhanced the maximum intake capacity at MBBS level from 150 to 250. Relaxation in the norms for setting up of Medical College in terms of the requirement of land, faculty, staff, bed/bed strength and other infrastructure has been done.
Minimum requirement of land for the establishment of a medical college in metropolitan cities as notified under Article 243P(c) of the Constitution of India has been dispensed with as well as Strengthening/ up-gradation of existing State Government/Central Government Medical Colleges is being done to increase MBBS seats, the Minister stated.
New Medical Colleges by upgrading district/referral hospitals preferably in underserved districts of the country are also being established to increase the MBBS seats for the aspirants.
Meanwhile, for increasing PG medical Seats (MD, MS) in India, the government has revised the ratio of teachers to students for Professor from 1:1 to 1:2 for all MD/MS disciplines and from 1:1 to 1:3 in all clinical subjects in Government-funded medical colleges and in Private medical colleges with 15 years standing.
Further, for Associate Professor, the said ratio has been revised from 1:1 to 1:2 and 1:3 if he/she is a unit head in all clinical subjects in Government medical colleges and in Private medical colleges with 15 years standing. This would result in an increase in the number of PG seats in the country, MOS Health assured the members.
Among these measures, DNB qualification has been recognized for appointment as faculty to take care of the shortage of faculty, the age limit for appointment/ extension/ re-employment against posts of teachers/dean/principal/ director in medical colleges have been enhanced up to 70 years.
Similar for PG seats, the government is focusing to strengthen and upgrade the State GMCs for starting new courses and increase the seats in medical colleges.
By amending the regulations, it has been made mandatory for all medical colleges to start PG courses within 3 years from the date of their MBBS recognition /continuation of recognition. Colleges are allowed to apply for PG courses in clinical subjects at the time of 4th renewal it will serve to advance the process for starting PG courses by more than 1 year, the Minister informed.