Around 150 medical colleges across the country are likely to lose recognition of the National Medical Commission (NMC), which is the regulatory body for India’s medical education and medical professionals. In the last two months, more than 30 medical colleges across Tamil Nadu, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh lost recognition of the NMC due to non-compliance with rules and inadequate faculty.
The irregularities were noted when the undergraduate medical education board of the commission inspected the institutions for over a month. CCTV cameras, lapses in Aadhar-linked biometric attendance procedures, vacancies of posts, and the faculty rolls were looked into. However, impacted medical colleges can appeal to the NMC within 30 days, and if rejected, they have the option of approaching the Union ministry of health.
What does the de-recognition of medical colleges mean?
In February, the government had informed the Parliament that there had been a 69 per cent increase in the number of medical colleges in the country, from 387 in 2014 to 654 now. In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said there had been a 94 per cent increase in the number of MBBS seats and a 107 per cent increase in the number of postgraduate (PG) seats since 2014.
However, in a country where the number of medical colleges and seats has remained limited for decades, this development means looking at a bigger problem.
In February, Pawar mentioned that 75 projects had been sanctioned as part of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) for “upgrading of government medical colleges by the construction of super specialty blocks,” and out of these, 60 were complete. She further stated that the requirements for faculty, staff, bed strength, and other infrastructure had been relaxed for the establishment of medical colleges. But the development hints at an alarming situation wherein despite the progress, the medical education ecosystem in the country could be hit adversely.
AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami and AMMK general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran recently criticised the DMK government over three medical colleges in Tamil Nadu losing recognition. They blamed the lax attitude of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s government saying it would impact students.
Despite the lack of medical colleges in the country, doctors do believe having standard medical colleges would improve the overall medical ecosystem in the country.
Talking to THE WEEK, Dr Vipin Kumar Jain, consultant internal medicine, Manipal Hospital, Jaipur, said while a number of medical colleges are being opened, it is important to understand that without proper faculty, it would be difficult to manage the quality of medical education. “NMC had notified colleges to provide the best faculties to run the programmes or medical colleges in a proper educational way, where we can see new doctors. However, what happened is that all medical colleges do not have adequate number of faculties which is required according to the NMC rules. So, the education in the medical faculty is getting hampered.”
Dr Jain said there is an urgent need to arrange the faculties on a permanent basis because some of these institutes run without the faculty and the teachers are sent from one place to another. “There is a need to improve and arrange proper faculties and the proper departments to run the show over medical students and give them a good education. It is important to make a good referral at the hospital so that needy patients get good attention and good care.”