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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Increase PG seats to end crisis of specialists: Doctors

Increase PG seats to end crisis of specialists: Doctors

NEW DELHI: The crisis of specialist doctors in India is a result of the government's failure to increase postgraduate seats in medical colleges, says Dr Devi Shetty, founder and chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore.

The Association of Health Providers of India, which is headed by Dr Shetty, has started 'Save the Doctor' campaign in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to demand equalization of undergraduate and postgraduate seats. As of now, there are 46,300 UG seats and 22,000 PG seats - out of which only 10,000 are in non-clinical subjects like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology and forensic medicine.

"It is ironical. While the country suffers from acute shortage of specialists and super-specialists, lack of PG seats forces thousands of medical graduates to wait for years to get into specialty courses. In some cases, doctors opt for MBA and civil services exams because they are not able to get their desired course," said Shetty.

He said the private colleges, which have over 60% of medical seats, charge high capitation fees. Some reports suggests that top private colleges charge over a crore as capitation fee for PG seats in radiology, orthopedics and general surgery - the most sought after courses. Doctors say that disparity between the UG and PG seats must end to reduce the crisis of specialists in the country.

Every year, over 3,09,300 children (29% of global share) in India die on the day they are born; the country fairs poorly even in maternal health, with 56,000 maternal deaths per year. While the government has taken several steps, including creation of primary health centers and promoting institutional delivery, the lack of super-specialists required to deal with this crisis remains. "There are only 40,000 gynaecologists, 20,000 pediatricians and 10,000 radiologists for the whole country. Most of them are practicing in the metros," said a senior doctor. He said that increase in the number of PG seats would lead to availability of more specialists to stem the health crisis.

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