In its bid to improve tertiary and secondary care in rural areas, the government is mulling scaling up its existing scheme of upgrading district hospitals into medical colleges by adding 80-100 more districts within the ambit of the existing scheme.
As per the proposal, in the next five years, 140 new medical colleges and an additional 14000 medical seats will be created.
For the 400 districts that do not have medical colleges, the government has at present started with the upgradation of district hospitals in 58 districts which are situated in deficit states like UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Haryana. Preference is being given to district hospitals/referral hospitals with bed strengths of 200 or more, districts where there are no medical colleges, and under-served areas.
The government is now contemplating to add 80-100 more districts. With the cost for each medical college that will be upgraded pegged at Rs 250 crore – with a Central outgo of Rs 150 core – the government has so far released Rs 1100 crore to the states under the scheme for establishment of new medical colleges.
For scaling up the existing scheme, extensive discussions between the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance are on.
The government is targeting to complete the work in these 58 colleges by December 2018 and is expecting an increase of 600 medical seats after completion of work.
“The aim of the government is to achieve one doctor per 1000 population. All Parliamentary constituencies should have at least one medical college for every three districts. The scheme will help improve tertiary and secondary care and an increase of 14,000 medical seats in the next 5 years,” said a senior official.
With the Southern states having the major chunk of medical colleges, government officials said the scheme would also help overcome the “flawed distribution”. “Only five-six states have the most medical colleges. There are many states where there is a deficit. This scheme has a potential to improve the situation of under-served areas. Through this scheme, distribution of medical colleges can be corrected to some extent,” added the official.