Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Norms eased to raise density of medical colleges

The Union Ministry of Health has decided to allow split campuses — medical college and a hospital within 10 kms of each other across the country — to reduce India's skewed ratio of medical college distribution. So far, split campuses were allowed in nine cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kanpur and Pune.

In a notification to be released within a few days the health ministry will allow medical colleges to start on 10-acre plots instead of 25 acres. Ministry officials say medical colleges in some states are shutting down hospitals inside towns due to unavailability of land and opening sprawling campuses on the outskirts, inconveniencing patients. Union health secretary P K Pradhan said, "We will allow split campuses across India now. Land unavailability should not hamper medical education."

At present, India has a density of one medical college per 3.841 million population. Around 315 medical colleges are spread across 188 of 642 districts.

Experts say there is an acute need for medical colleges in certain states. "Sometimes a hospital does not have enough land to start a medical college. We have asked the MCI (Medical Council of India) to relax norms to allow a split campus provided facilities like transportation and telecommunication are in place," a ministry official said.

The high-power expert group of the Planning Commission working on universal health coverage has proposed a phased addition of 187 colleges, according to which, by 2022, India will have one medical college per 2.5 million population in all states except Bihar, UP and West Bengal.

Source: The Times of India, August 14, 2012

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