The health department plans to increase the number of MBBS seats at Patna Medical College, pending approval of the Medical Council of India, to stop brain drain.
At present there are 150 seats at the college. The department plans to add 100 more seats from 2015 but sources said a nod from the Medical Council of India (MCI) won’t be a cakewalk. The college administration is taking steps for it though.
On Tuesday, the department approved a proposal to create 290 teaching posts at the premier medical college. The decision would burden the exchequer with an additional Rs 14 crore. It is making arrangements for improving the infrastructure too.
Anil Kumar, deputy secretary, health, said: “At present our focus is to strengthen the college’s infrastructure so that when we apply to the Medical Council of India for the seats, we get it.”
He added that the department wanted to bring Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) on a par with the New Delhi-based Medanta Hospital that is known for its super-speciality treatment.
Sources said it won’t be easy for the health department to get a nod from MCI to increase the number of MBBS seats given its past records.
Last July, the council approved 50 more seats for the MBBS course at the medical college. The approval, however, came after the college had to submit a compliance report, along with an undertaking by chief secretary of Bihar, for rectification of deficiencies as pointed out by the MCI on an earlier visit.
A senior official of the health department although sounded positive about the medical college’s chances.
“Patna Medical College isn’t the only institution in Bihar asked for a compliance report. We are serious about increasing the number of MBBS seats at the Patna Medical College and would be able to rectify deficiencies in a time-bound manner. We have released around Rs 1.65 crore for the renovation of the outpatient building and another Rs 94 lakh for renovating the intensive care units,” he said.
Teachers at PMCH were happy to learn of the health department’s initiative.
“It will be very difficult for the department to start any new medical college. If it upgrades the infrastructure, it would at least be able to increase the number of MBBS seats in the state-run colleges, stopping students from leaving Bihar,” said Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, a faculty member in the physiology department of Patna Medical College.
Another teacher, on condition of anonymity, said: “I am against the health department’s decision to increase MBBS seats at Patna Medical College, as it would dilute teaching. How can one teacher address 250 students at a time? Medical education is about one-to-one teaching. If we have to produce quality doctors, then there is a need to provide proper education to the students.”