Patna, Jan. 11: A committee set up by health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey last week to come up with recommendations on appointment of medical teachers in the state has failed to submit its report within the deadline.
The minister had announced that the panel would submit the report by Monday, but the committee is yet to hold its first meeting.
Dr N.P. Yadav, the controller of medical examinations, health department, and a member of the committee, told The Telegraph that the panel has not been provided with details like exact break-up of teachers in the existing medical colleges.
“Once we get the figures and data, it won’t take us long to come up with our recommendations. We also have to suggest how many teachers should be appointed for the proposed medical colleges at Pawapuri, Madhepura and Bettiah, for which the Medical Council of India (MCI) is expected to carry out inspection within a month,” said Yadav.
According to sources, the government has requested MCI to inspect the three medical colleges as it wants to start classes at the three institutions from the next academic session. But no teaching facility has been put in place yet.
On Friday, Choubey had announced that the committee, comprising Yadav and health department deputy director Ashok Yadav, will submit its report by Monday.
The panel was constituted to recommend faculty for the proposed and six colleges and other government institutions.
He had also claimed that all the required appointments of medical teachers would be made prior to the MCI inspection, a promise that seems unlikely to be fulfilled.
According to figures suggested by the state government, there are 1,200 medical teachers, including those appointed on contractual basis, in all six medical colleges of the state.
“There are 800 regular teachers and 400 contractual ones in the government medical colleges as against the sanctioned strength of 1,400. According to National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) recommendations, the state requires at least 5,000 medical teachers,” said a senior official of the health department.
Experts believe that even though state government claims to have done a lot to streamline the health sector, there remains a malaise — a very poor doctor-patient ratio in the state. The ratio in Bihar is 1:3,500, which is far behind the national average of 1:1,700.
“Bhore Committee, set up to recommend improvements in the Indian public health system, had suggested a ratio of 1:1,000. It is felt that without addressing this problem, all promises made by the state government will remain a distant dream. There are around 30,000 registered doctors in the state, both government as well as those engaged in private practice,” said a leading city-based private practitioner.
According to NRHM recommendations, the state requires more than 70,000 doctors to reach the required ratio. Similarly, the state is short of 70 per cent specialists.