LUCKNOW: Ministry of health and family welfare accepted a proposal to develop five district hospitals in the state into medical college, thereby clearing the way for 250 additional medical seats in a couple of years. The hospitals are in Faizabad, Bahraich, Basti, Firozabad and Shahjahanpur and each of these will have a minimum of 50 seats. If Medical Council of India (MCI) permits, net gain could be of 500 additional seats. Central government has agreed to fund the project with matching grant from the state.
Sources in the health ministry stated that the UP government will have to send specific proposals for the selected centres to take the project further. They believe that if everything falls in place, medical colleges could get functional in 2-3 years.
Officials in medical education directorate cited provisions in Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS). “There should be a medical college set up each for a population of 50 lakh. Considering UP’s present population of 20 crore, the state should have 40 medical colleges,” they said.
As on date, there are 29 medical colleges in the state including 14 in the government sector. Government colleges have a capacity to admit 1,827 students each year while private colleges have 1,650 seats.
On why government hospitals were chosen for medical education, officials said “clinical arm of the medical college has to be available for patients. We just need to raise the building for teaching.”
Experts, however, say sustaining the medical colleges is going to be a challenge considering acute shortage of teachers. “On an average, all medical institutions in UP face at least 18-20% shortage of faculty members. In some newly opened medical colleges it is over 50%. Running new colleges would be a challenge,” said a retired chief of medical education department.