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Cloud on SSKM course

- Compliance test for 100 seats in MBBS programme

Calcutta, June 7: SSKM Hospital’s medical education wing can offer the MBBS course this year only if the Medical Council of India (MCI) accepts its compliance report on infrastructure deficiencies.

The MCI has sought a point-by-point compliance report from the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research (IPGMER), which is attached to SSKM Hospital, and will conduct another round of inspection.

According to an MCI resolution, the apex body regulating medical education in the country detected several infrastructure deficiencies during an inspection in March. On the basis of the inspection, 50 of IPGMER’s 150 MBBS seats were scrapped last week.

For the remaining 100 seats to continue to be recognised, the institute must submit a “point-wise compliance (report) after rectification of the deficiencies within a period of 3 months” from May.

The IPGMER, which earlier offered only postgraduate courses, started the MBBS programme in 2004 with 100 seats and added 50 more last year. The MCI has scrapped 1,045 seats in medical colleges across Bengal this year because of lack of infrastructure and other lapses.

Pradip Mitra, IPGMER director, said the compliance report had been submitted.

“The report was sent in mid-May. We don’t have any deficiencies. The assessors sent by the council prepared incorrect reports. There is no threat to the 100 seats. The remaining 50 will be restored,” he said.

A doctor said: “The admission process for all medical colleges in Bengal, including the IPGMER, will begin in June-end and continue till July-end.”

A senior MCI official said the council would conduct another round of inspections, whose date is yet to be fixed.

“We have got the compliance report from the IPGMER and are looking into the report. We shall conduct another round of inspections,” an MCI official said from Delhi.

Mitra said the assessors had inspected the facilities at the IPGMER in March. The MCI executive committee considered the assessors’ report in May and pointed out the following deficiencies:

• The combined capacity of the two lecture theatres is 120 against the required 180. They are not air-conditioned. There is no facility for e-classes;

• The central library’s area is 1,000sqm against the requirement of 2,400sqm. It subscribes to only 40 journals against the required 100;

• There’s no common room for girl students;

• There’s no central photography unit;

• Some of the OTs have more than one table, which is not in keeping with the norms. Some of the OTs have non-functional ACs;

• The OT complex lacks post-operative recovery rooms and pre-operative anaesthetic rooms;

• Most of the wards lack a demonstration room. The required distance of 1.5m between beds is not always maintained;

• There’s no auditorium.

Some of the deficiencies, such as faulty air-conditioning, can be corrected in a matter of days, SSKM officials said. But some, such as cramped classrooms and lack of an auditorium, could take months to set right.

“We will negotiate with the MCI to ensure we are allowed to build those facilities in a phased manner,” an SSKM official said.

Doctors in Calcutta said the state health department should immediately intervene to ensure that the 100 seats are not scrapped.

According to the minutes of the MCI meeting in May, the executive committee had decided to recommend to the Union health ministry “not to renew the permission in view of the deficiencies for admission of 2nd batch of MBBS students against the increased intake from 100 to 150 at IPGMER for the academic year 2014-15”.

The committee had also observed that the recommendation was “equally applicable” to the recognition for the remaining 100 seats.