Calcutta:West Bengal is developing itself up in the health sector by announcing the establishment of five new medical colleges in the state to overcome the existing doctor shortage . The new colleges would help fulfill the Medical Council of India’s criteria of having one institute per five million population. Each new college is to have a student strength of a 100 admissions and an overall student strength of 350 in the total twenty one institutes, including the new ones in the state. The government also has 450 seats in dentistry.
These five new colleges are proposed to be set up at Rampurhat in Birbhum, Cooch Behar, Diamond Harbour in South 24-Parganas, Purulia and Raiganj in North Dinajpur,” revealed the Principal, Health Secretary, R S Shukla. None of these areas house a medical college.
The decision has been taken by the Chief Minister, Mamta Bannerjee’s at a review meeting of the health sector. The decision to start new medical colleges was taken in an effort to increase the number of doctors in the state, especially in government hospitals. The effort would cost the state exchequer a total of Rs. 10,000 crore. The new medical colleges will be attached to the district or referral health hubs, with a distance of 10 km between them.
Officials also spoke of the state’s plans to introduce nursing colleges next year at Ghatal, Barasat, Jangipur, Jhargram, Ulberia, Basirhat and Sagar Dutta Medical College at a total expense of Rs 150 Crores.
The expenditure involved in the establishment of the medical colleges is to be shared in a 60:40 ratio.The five new institutes are part of the planned fifty eight colleges approved by the center in March.
The state of Bengal has sixteen medical colleges, including twelve government, three private and one central. With an addition of the new five colleges, the number will rise to twenty one. The state government also plans to establish nine more, after these five, taking the final number to twenty six.
To bridge the paucity of doctors in the state, the government will be advertising for contractual medical practitioner appointments and also raise the retirement age of practicing doctors.