“After all who is private (sector)? They are our own people. But the only thing is you must have proper regulation”- the VP Stated
Chennai: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday batted for “opening up” the private sector in medical education, but stressed the need for regulation to ensure transparency, accountability and quality.
He said while the system was expanding and the government, as well as the private sector, was focusing on increasing the number of medical colleges, “the essential question we need to ask ourselves is about the quality of medical education.”
“I feel the time has come that we should open up. We have already opened up. We have to open up further to the private sector. Let there be a competition between private sector and public sector,” he said in his address at the convocation of Tamilnadu Dr MGR Medical University,
“After all who is private (sector)? They are our own people. But only thing is you must have proper regulation,” he said.
Striking a note of caution to authorities, he, however, said “regulation should not become strangulation.”
“The regulation is to benefit, to monitor, to have transparency, accountability in the medical institutions.
Namesake or institutions that are there on paper should not be encouraged,” he said.
The Vice-President expressed happiness over the Tamil Nadu Assembly recently approving the setting up of two more private universities in the state, saying “that is the need of the hour.”
He said opposing the setting up of private institutions “ideologically” was no good.
After 70 years of Independence, there were still gaps in the education system, health care and other aspects, he said and pointed out that about 22 per cent of people still live below the poverty line and that there are many parts of the country which lack medical facilities.
India has, according to the latest data, 479 medical colleges, out of which 227 are being run by government and 252 are in private sector with annual admission capacity of 67,532 MBBS and 31,415 post graduate students per year. Besides, there are 6,848 DNB seats which are equivalent to MD/MS.
“While the system is expanding and the government as well as the private sector is focusing on increasing the number of medical colleges, the essential question that we need to ask ourselves is about the quality of medical education,” he stated
“That being the case, there should be public-private partnership and we must encourage well-meaning people enter into the educational field and also medical field.”
“But at the same time you should see to it that they all maintain standards, follow ethics and also there has to be a regular interaction between government authorities and these institutions to see whether they (private) are following the procedure and maintaining the standards are not. That is also equally important,” he added.
Asking doctors to focus more on rural areas, he reiterated his earlier suggestion that a doctor should be mandated to serve three years in villages before the first promotion.
“I am not saying be there in the rural areas alone. It should be mandated that before the first promotion, for three years, all doctors should work in the rural areas.”
“Otherwise, rural area people feel neglected…serving the poor, the needy, is serving God. Keeping that in mind, you should focus on rural people,” he said.