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Norms to start medical colleges may be relaxed

CHENNAI: The Centre is considering relaxation of regulations for starting medical colleges, especially in areas under-served by healthcare systems, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has said.
The category “under-served areas” will be applicable to the northeast region and backward States, where the National Rural Health Mission is operational, he said. This measure was to handle the huge shortage of doctors in these States.
“A matter of concern”
Dr. Ramadoss said that while the country needed one lakh doctors, only a third of this requirement was being met. Every year, 32,500 graduates passed out of medical schools and not all of them entered the public health sector.
Due to scarcity of doctors in the northeast, the Union Health Ministry had roped in the armed services medical corps to pitch in.
Referring to relaxation of norms, Dr. Ramadoss said that while the focus would continue to be on quality there was no doubt that given the present conditions in those States, some of the existing rules for setting up medical colleges would perforce have to be relaxed.
Changes would have to be made to the Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999. The Regulations insist that “a suitable single plot of land measuring not less than 25 acres is owned and possessed by the person or is possessed by the applicant by way of 99 years lease for the construction of the college.”
The government was considering splitting up the 25 acres into two campuses and making such a recommendation to the Medical Council of India. In most hilly terrains, it would sometimes be difficult to accommodate the entire 25-acre campus in a single location, the Health Minister explained.
Also, it had been specified that the applicant “owns and manages a hospital of not less than 300 beds with necessary infrastructural facilities capable of being developed into a teaching institution on the campus of the proposed medical college.”
Dr. Ramadoss said that “since the lack of hospitals itself is a concern in some States, we intend to introduce a public-private partnership model. Private institutions that do not have such a large-capacity hospital too can start a medical college.”
Source: The Hindu -08 may 2008