Thirty nine of the 89 new medical colleges, that were approved in 2011 – 2018, failed to clear inspection by the Medical Council of India (MCI). The board cited ‘deficient’ functioning of the hospital in most cases and shortage of faculty.
Thus, the MCI Board of Governors (BoG) has restricted new medical colleges to institutions only after having a functional hospital for at least three years. BoG is the highest decision-making body of the MCI.
A medical college, as per the MCI’s rules, with 100 seats needs to have a functional hospital with at least 300 beds – 60 per cent occupancy at the time of submission of application. Moreover, the bed occupancy of 60 per cent has to be maintained at the time of the annual renewal the following year, whereby it has to have a minimum of 75 per cent occupancy, an increase to 500 beds, during second renewal.
Sources say the real problem is in the running of the hospital.
“That is where most of them slip up because for a medical college, running the hospital is never a priority, partly because all the investment is done on the teaching side of the business”, said a source.
In this regard, the source said MCI will be upturning the rules and allowing new medical colleges only where a hospital has been running for three years or more. This means that only existing hospitals and chains would be eligible to start new MBBS programmes, especially in the private sector.
Furthermore, there are concerns that this will shrink the MBBS seats, and that too at a time when the government is pushing for more seats to improve the doctor – patient ratio, which presently is 1:1655, compared to WHO’s norm of 1:1000. The government has been pushing existing hospital chains to open medical colleges. And this is the reason a clause was removed in the rules for the establishment of medical colleges that disallowed ‘commercialization’.
An official said the government needs to invest more in medical colleges. He stressed that quality should never be compromised and pointed out that the current model of pushing for more seats by easing norms is not going to work in the long run.