Medical Faculty Exodus at Private Medical Colleges in Punjab
Chandigarh: Teaching faculty including medical teachers and doctors attached with self-financing medical colleges all across the state of Punjab; are apparently rushing out from these private institutions towards supposedly greener pastures of government medical colleges and private practice. This has in turn put in jeopardy the MCI recognition at many places
As suggested in a recent report by Tribune, these private medical colleges are facing an acute teaching faculty shortage ranging between 30 and 40 per cent. The medical institutions are short of at least 100 members of teaching faculty.
This faculty shortage impact is being currently witnessed by the authorities at state's functioning five private medical institutions –
- Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Jalandhar;
- Adesh Medical College and Hospital, Bathinda;
- Sri Guru Ram Dass Medical College, Amritsar;
- Christian Medical College, Ludhiana;
- Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana
The major factor implied for this exodus of senior faculty is a huge gap in salary and other perks between those who were employed in the government sector and the ones who were teaching in private colleges.
Case in point, if a senior faculty member of a private medical college was getting a monthly salary of Rs 1.5 lakh, his or her counterparts working in government medical colleges were drawing an average pay package of Rs 2.5 lakh p.m.
Further, the government had earlier increased the retirement age to 70 but this has somehow counter effected the decision as the faculties at these private medical colleges are more interested at gaining experience and then move on to government based medical colleges or private practice as the latter options give more perks to them financially and retirement wise.
When contacted, Dr Mandip Singh Sethi, Associate Professor (Medicine) at PIMS, told Tribune that the drift towards private practice could be arrested by removal of pay disparity and with better pay packets. It will not only improve the student-teacher ratio in private colleges but, would also lead to the fulfilment of the stipulated criteria in respect to the strength of teaching faculty.
MCI’s Recognition in Jeopardy
Since the ideal Medical Council of India (MCI) stipulated student-teacher ratio of three teachers (one professor, one associate professor and one assistant professor) after a batch of every 150 students in case of some of these private colleges; is being ignored, gaining recognition from the MCI becomes a massive task for medical college authorities.
A similar situation prevails at Patiala and Amritsar government medical colleges where more than 57 per cent of the medical teachers’ posts are lying vacant. In November last year Medical Dialogues had reported that out of 628 posts in the two institutes, a whopping 358 were vacant.
The situation is likely to get even more difficult as the government is moving to regulate the fee charged by these mediacl cllleges
In view of the fact that the Punjab Government decided to cut this course fee ‘most likely’ to Rs 15 lakh from the current exorbitant rates that they are charging, the private medical universities in the state are soon going to face MBBS fee regulations.
For this purpose, the state government had already sought an amendment to the Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Fee and Making of Reservation) Act, 2006, to include all those private medical universities that have spread out rapidly over the past one decade. The Act seeks to provide for the regulation of admission, fixation of the fee, and the making of reservation in private health sciences educational institutions in the state of Punjab and for the matters connected therewith.
This decision was pursuant to the condemnation that the state government had faced for a long time on behalf of allowing private medical universities to charge an exorbitant fee for MBBS course. The government’s allowance to these medical institutions came as defeat in an argument in which the latter affirmed that there was no such provision in law over MBBS fee structure.