Saturday, April 05, 2008
shortage of doctors
India is setting up 60 new medical colleges and 225 nursing colleges in public-private partnership to tide over its current acute shortage of doctors, nurses, dentists and paramedics, a Planning Commission report has said. It also said that the only way to meet the crunch is to open the medical education sector completely for private sector participation and companies being allowed to establish medical and dental colleges just as they have been allowed to open nursing colleges.The report, released by Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said that India faces a shortage of about 600,000 doctors, one million nurses, 200,000 dental surgeons and large numbers of paramedical staff.The report said in the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), the government plans to set up six institutions like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and upgrade 13 existing medical institutions.Besides, the nursing schools will be upgraded into colleges and the existing nursing colleges strengthened and upgraded as well as the existing government medical colleges.Currently, medical colleges churn out about 30,000 doctors a year, apart from 20,000 dentists and 45,000 nurses.The report said about 3,181 postgraduate degrees are awarded annually, while 1,316 postgraduate diplomas are given in the country each year.Also, the country faces an acute shortage of dental surgeons. In 2007, there were 73,271 dental surgeons against the requirement of 282,130.In the same year, there was a need for around 2.19 million nurses, but the figure available was 1.16 million nurses.There is an acute shortage of paramedical staff such as radiographers, X-ray technicians, physiotherapists, laboratory technicians, dental hygienist, orthopaedists and opticians. However, the number of pharmacists is adequate.