Medical Communication

Archive for January, 2009

-MCI regulations change Medical education policy

Posted by drneelesh on January 13, 2009

Bombay High Court.Image via Wikipedia

With the Indian Medical Council Act (1956) likely to be amended soon, medical education in India may soon witness some major changes, including opening up of the sector for private firms as well as diluting the existing norms for a college with 100 MBBS seats.

Private firms and companies, registered under the Companies Act, will be allowed to start medical colleges according to a notification on the Medical Council of India (MCI) website posted on December 1, 2008.

The new regulations, which are a modification of the last amended act of 1999, is being termed as ‘minimum requirements for 100 MBBS admissions annually regulations (amendment), 2008-Part II’. It clearly states that the MCI amended the act with the sanction of the union government.

Confusion has reigned in medical circles that the government has asked the MCI to withdraw the amendment. However, Dr P C Kesavankutty Nair, the acting MCI president, said, “The question of withdrawing does not arise at all as it was the government which had asked the MCI to make the amendments. Its executive committee members too were consulted. The government, however, is apparently not satisfied with the changes in toto. But we have requested it to reconsider the amendment.”

KVS Rao, the deputy secretary in the ministry of health and family welfare and also the director of medical education, said it was true that the MCI had made the amendments on union government’s direction. “But we are not fully satisfied with the changes as it has not incorporated all our suggestions,” he said. “The government will be holding a meeting with the MCI soon and the issue will be resolved in about 2-3 weeks.”

The teachers’ community as well as medical students in the state are objecting to these changes. They claim that the amendments will “dilute” the quality of medical education. However, Rao sees no harm in the changes. “The new changes are being made taking into consideration the Supreme Court’s directives on misuse of these norms by private colleges or any institutions in their favour. Government is not easing the norms to suit the private colleges at all. The amendments are being made taking into consideration all the checks and balances as per the court’s direction,” he said.

Rao said that the regulations were being changed to create conditions for producing more and better doctors. “As of now there is a shortage of medical teachers. We already need to switch to modern technology like distance education or video lectures to keep the medical education going,” Rao said.


The amended IMC Act for 100 MBBS seats with additions/modifications/deletions/substitutions includes the following:

  • The existing act allows only the institutions registered with the charity commissioner or under the societies registration act to open medical colleges. But now firms registered under companies act can also start medical colleges
  • The earlier act includes 21 subjects including clinical and non clinical subjects with specified staff requirements along with norms for campus area, hospital structure and staff etc, library and other mandatory requirements for 100 MBBS seats. The new regulation has cut down the teaching and non teaching staff requirements for non clinical subjects to almost half
  • Under schedule I clause A 1.1 for campus area, the new amendment demands at least 25 acres of land for medical college housed in an unitary campus and this may be relaxed in cases of metros or cities with populations above 25 lakhs, hilly areas and notified tribal areas where land should not be in more than two pieces and the distance between the two should not exceed 10 kms.
  • The hospital, college building including library and hostels for students, interns, residents and nurses should be in one piece of land which should not be less than the 10 acres. However the new act comes with a rider that permission will be withdrawn if the colleges resort to commercialization.

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-Medical education in Gujarat, India.

Posted by drneelesh on January 10, 2009

AHMEDABAD: In the country, there is one doctor for every 1,538 persons, but Gujarat which boasts of one of best facilities has a doctor for every 2,346 people.

What’s more, it is not just Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh that beat state when it comes to number of medical seats, but even a tiny union territory of Pondicherry has 1,175 seats, just a couple of hundred less than 1,505 seats of Gujarat!

Photo rights from highlandcow@Flickr

This is reflected in infant and maternal mortality rates in Gujarat which are far higher than most states. In times of rapid industrial investment, on Saturday, as powerful and brilliant minds of medical fraternity meet to celebrate platinum jubilee celebrations of Medical Council of India amid participation from top politicians, including Narendra Modi, they would do well to mull upon this poor medical education infrastructure in state.

Annually, nearly 500 students from state pack their bags off to other states with rich medical education infrastructure draining a revenue of 300 crore to other states. Many students are reported to pay a donation upwards of Rs 25 lakh.

  • State’s spending on a medical students – Rs 40 lakh
  • Fee charged by the government- Rs 30,000

No wonder, limited number of doctors do not want to work in rural areas and prefer practising in cities forcing government to launch schemes like Chiranjeevi where the government pays private doctors to do institutionalise deliveries and decrease Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR).

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Private Equity in Medical education

Posted by drneelesh on January 5, 2009

PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE FROM THE 1958 FILM, "TER...Image by spike55151 via Flickr

It seems that finally the Government has woken up and smelt the coffee.
Medical education is BIG business, and you cant keep big players out of this by allowing only Trusts and non-profits to start new medical colleges.( many of which are Sham)Medical education may soon become a profit-making venture and private players investing in it would have to pay tax on the profit they make from it. The government is considering a proposal to allow private sector investments in medical education under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. The idea is to encourage investment in the sector to meet the shortage of medical professionals in the country.

At present, only governments, universities, trusts or charitable societies can set up medical colleges. Private companies, which want to establish medical education centres, can do so only through a not-for-profit organisation and are exempt from income tax.

With the changed norms in place, private players are likely to face lesser entry barriers while making big investments in the medical education sector. “We have finalised the proposal to relax the norms for setting up medical colleges. The new guidelines include private sector participation through PPP model among other things. We have already submitted the proposal to the Medical Council of India,” a health ministry official close to the development told ET.

E&Y partner (risk advisory services) Kali Prasad said: “The move will attract private sector participation includingprivate equity into medical education. This will help companies to make investments and make reasonable returns over time while the government will also benefit as companies will have to pay tax.”

The new guidelines seek to relax other rigid regulations such as land area restrictions and the teacher-to-student ratio. “The proposals also suggest that medical colleges may be allowed to have minimum 25 acres in two locations within 12 km, instead of the 25 acres of contiguous land required now,” the official said.

The move came after the Planning Commission had recommended opening of the medical education sector for private sector participation to increase the supply of human resources at all levels while the country is facing an acute shortage of professionals in the healthcare sector. According to a Planning Commission report, for every 10,000 Indians, there is one doctor. India is short by around six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and two lakh dental surgeons.

“A group headed by the secretary of health has examined and actively considered relaxing the norms for investing in medical education. We are looking at an option to completely open up private sector participation and also easing infrastructure norms. A notification to this effect may be made soon by the health ministry,” a senior Planning Commission official said.

The move is expected to boost corporate chains, most of which have planned to set up medical education hubs to meet its human resources need. Delhi-based Fortis Healthcare has plans of setting up 10 medical cities in the next 10 years with an investment of over Rs 5,000 crore.

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-mLearning in Medical Education

Posted by drneelesh on January 2, 2009

A Treo 300.Image via Wikipedia
Smartphones helping Medical Students » Mobile Computing News

Personalization of the learning process makes learning that much more enjoyable and interesting. The “One size fits All” just doesn’t work. AND Laptops are not the only way to deliver learning content.

Till now the smartphones were used to communicate effectively, browse the Internet, share data
and enjoy movies, music and photos. But for the first time these devices have been optimised to help medical students at the University of Louisville. This is all thanks to Sprint, which has signed the contract with the university and agreed to provide Windows Mobile smartphones, such as the Palm Treo 800w or the HTC Touch Diamond P3700, at discounted prices to university students. Using the wireless technology the students will be able to enhance their learning and improve their clinical treatments.

The special things about these smartphones is that they will come loaded with relevant medical applications like ePocrates and medical drug reference databases that can be used by the professors, medical practitioners and students to access the university e-mail programme and address.

Edward Halperin, dean of the School of Medicine said, “Sprint’s wireless technology will allow our students to access a virtual library of textbooks and medical references. We believe it is worth investigating whether or not giving medical students these tools and technology will enhance their knowledge and sharpen their decision making. Ultimately, our graduates will require these skills as outstanding physicians. It is important to assess the role of technology in the acquisition of clinical skills.”

According to Stephanie Ferguson, general manager of the Mobile Communications Business, Microsoft Corp, “The wireless industry is experiencing an incredible increase in smartphone adoption within specialized fields such as medicine. Students at the University of Louisville can get the most out of their medical education and professional careers through the use of our familiar, customizable Windows Mobile smartphones.”

Read my other posts on similar lines Here.

Help me win a similar device by clicking Here.

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