New Delhi: In its first significant move, the newly constituted National Medical Commission (NMC) is likely to do away with the requirement of minimum five acres of land for setting up a medical college, ThePrint has learnt.
The commission has also proposed to reduce the minimum number of beds required as a proportion of the number of seats in the college.
The NMC, which was constituted on 25 September, has further proposed to make skill labs mandatory. Skill labs have mannequins on which students can practice life-saving skills such as administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation, giving various types of injections, among others.
All these proposed changes are part of the ‘Minimum Requirements for Annual MBBS Admissions Regulations, 2020’ for which the NMC has sought feedback from people and various stakeholders by 19 October. ThePrint has accessed the document of the proposed regulations.
The new regulations laid down the requirements for lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, minimum bed requirement of the attached medical college, location of faculty offices and students’ accommodation.
It stated the minimum equipment that each laboratory must have, the minimum number of copies of a given book in the library, the medical journals that the college must subscribe to, and also one rural health and one urban health training centre attached to each college.
The NMC proposed to allow medical colleges to operate out of three campuses in tier 1 and tier 2 cities, and Northeast and hilly areas, provided the distance between any two campuses is never less than 10 km or 30 minutes of travel time.
The requirement for the number of beds in a medical college hospital has been proposed to be brought down from 530 to 430 for a 100-seat institute, and from 930 to 830 for a 200-seat college.
A senior official involved with the drawing up of the new regulations told ThePrint: “Earlier the regulations required that a minimum five acres land was required for setting up of a new medical college but now we are changing that.”
“It is not the real estate that is of interest to us but the facilities, student amenities and the quality of teaching. While we have only specified things like how many students a lecture theatre should accommodate, our back of the envelope calculations suggest that for setting up a college with 100 seats, just about 2.5 acres would be sufficient under these norms,” he added.
A 100-seat college, for example, needs two teaching rooms of 25 people capacity each, and one with 50 people capacity in line with the new idea of small-group teaching in the current medical syllabus.
The visiting faculty can be 30 per cent of the required faculty strength, according to the proposed regulations.
Focus on quality
The preamble to the draft regulations laid down the reasons as to why such a document is needed.
“There is a necessity to re-cast medical education and training to enable the medical graduate to be able to effectively discharge their role as a physician in this changing world. The new demands on medical education also necessitate redefining the standards.”
“There is a need to define standards based on functional requirements, rather than in absolute terms. Quality should be the benchmark of the new standard. Optimisation and flexibility in utilising the available resources, and harnessing modern educational technology tools would facilitate in moving towards quality education even when resources are relatively scarce,” according to the preamble.
‘Requirements for setting up medical colleges rationalised’
The proposed regulations come close on the heels of the decision by the Medical Council of India (MCI) Board of Governors last month to make a three-month internship at a district hospital mandatory for all postgraduate medical students.
Dr V.K. Paul, member (health) NITI Aayog and chairman of the MCI Board of Governors, told ThePrint: “The idea is to promote quality, small-group teaching.”
“The requirements for setting up medical colleges have been rationalised. The new document lays down what is required in terms of lecture theatres, laboratories, skills lab, library, hostels and amenities for both students and faculty members etc. A well-functioning hospital providing quality services 24×7 is the most important part of the medical college,” he said.
“Any legally established hospital can be a teaching hospital if it has the required amount of patient load, and provides teaching spaces. How much land is required for the college is not for the regulator to prescribe; it is dependent on the municipal norms such as the floor area ratio allowed for construction. We have simplified the regulations so that the emphasis may remain firmly on quality and also put in other requirements such as skills laboratory and Wi-Fi,” Paul added.
He further said visiting faculty is “recommended to top-up full-time faculty to run a good medical college”.
“The idea is to promote quality student-faculty interaction and small-group teaching and bedside classes. Our estimate is that the costs for establishing a medical college would significantly come down,” added Paul.
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