Ukraine crisis has highlighted paucity of medical seats and prohibitive cost of medical education in country: Experts

Currently, under the National Medical Commission (NMC) there are 605 medical colleges (284 in Government and 269 in private sector) bringing the total to 90,825 medical seats (43,310 in government and 41,065 in private sector).

medical colleges in india
If the WHO recommended minimum doctor-population ratio of 1:1000 is taken into account, there is a shortage of nearly 4 lakh doctors.

The Ukraine crisis has highlighted the paucity of medical seats in the country and the prohibitive cost of tuition fees in private medical colleges, according to experts.

Currently, under the National Medical Commission (NMC) there are 605 medical colleges (284 in Government and 269 in private sector) bringing the total to 90,825 medical seats (43,310 in government and 41,065 in private sector).

With only 3.7 lakh specialists, India needs to quadruple this number. There are only 17,000 post graduate (PG) (MD/MS) seats available as compared to 90,000 MBBS seats, thus inhibiting many medical graduates to pursue PG.

XV Finance Commission Report (2020) also cites that there are 12,66,942 doctors in India. Considering about 80 percent of them are actively practicing, it brings down the figure to 10,13,554 (0.7 doctors per 1000 population).

If the WHO recommended minimum doctor-population ratio of 1:1000 is taken into account, there is a shortage of nearly 4 lakh doctors. Geographical distribution of doctors is also markedly skewed with most of them practicing in urban areas. Furthermore, nurses and paramedical staff are also in short supply. With about 18 lakhs nurses registered under Nursing Council of India (NCI) in 2020, there is a requirement of another10 lakh to fill the demand of 1:3 nurses per 1000 population.
Anand Mahindra also recently tweeted that he was surprised at the shortfall in medical colleges in India and urged whether Mahindra University would explore the idea of establishing a medical studies institution in the campus.

According to Dr. Vivek Desai, Founder & MD, HOSMAC, “Lakhs of students apply to medical colleges every year. However, many cannot afford the tuition fee of Rs 20 lakhs in private medical colleges per annum and hence opt to study in countries like Ukraine, China and Philippines where they have to spend half of this amount.”

Mumbai based HOSMAC is a hospital planning, design and management consultancy which offers services like market research, business planning and transaction advisory, public health consultancy, architectural design, interior design and equipment planning among others.

“The Government is doing its bit to add seats and has also allowed private hospitals to offer PG (specialisation) and post-PG education (super-specialisation). There has been an 80 percent increase in PG seats since 2014. It’s time for the private sector to chip in more actively. With the scarcity of medical seats clearly highlighted, we can expect more investment in the medical education sector, particularly medical PG education. Public-private partnership models are likely to emerge. Also, the private sector will bring in much needed efficiency within the system,” Dr Desai explained.

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