STRESSING to relax standards for establishing new medical colleges, the National Medical Commission (NMC), the country’s main medical education regulatory body, has proposed a relaxation of the mandatory requirement for a “fully functional” hospital for at least two years before starting a medical college. This exemption only applies to organizations that have experience running a medical college and a 1,000-bed multi-specialty hospital elsewhere in the country.
According to the existing regulations for the establishment of medical colleges, the person establishing the school must “own and manage a fully functional hospital with a minimum of 300 beds with the necessary infrastructural facilities that can be developed into an educational institution … the hospital must be fully functional for a minimum period of two years.”
Now, the NMC has said in a draft notice that “the condition of ‘fully functional hospital for a minimum period of two years’ does not apply in the case of universities and presumed universities that have experience in establishing and running fully functional accredited medical colleges.” and hospitals with 1,000 beds or more, for at least two years, anywhere in India.”
It adds certain riders: “The building of both the hospital and the medical university is owned and managed by the same organization; the building of the proposed medical university has not been used for any other purpose before …; and at the time of application, (it) has an established multi-specialty hospital with at least 1,000 hospital beds and which complies with all other standards under the Regulation”.
The NMC has requested comments on the draft notification for a period of 30 days.
The move is seen as part of the effort to increase the number of medical chairs across the country. The number of MBBS seats in the country has increased from just over 51,000 in 2014 to nearly 92,000 for the 2022-23 batch. The government has supported increasing the number of seats in existing colleges, establishing new colleges with existing district hospitals, and establishing new AIIMS.
“There have been discussions about easing the norm of having an established hospital to help increase the number of medical chairs in the country. It was initially a three-year period, which was then reduced to two years. Now it has been abolished,” said a senior official at a private medical university. “Every hospital takes some time to settle in and see patients come in. Now, if that (rule) is relaxed, medical colleges can be established at the same time the hospital is established. So how can the students in the early years Also, having a university and hospital in different parts of the country doesn’t really help,” the official said.
“This will help rapidly increase the number of medical colleges and help achieve the prime minister’s vision of having a medical college in every district of the country,” said Dr. JC Passey, Dean of World College of Medical Sciences and Research at Rohtak.