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40 Medical Colleges Lose Recognition: What This Means For India's Public Health

40 medical colleges in India have lost recognition over the last two months for not being up to NMC's standards.

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40 medical colleges in India have lost recognition over the last two months for not being up to National Medical Commission’s standards.

A total of 150 institutions are on the NMC’s radar and are also likely to lose recognition by the national body.

According to reports, the NMC has cited that "non-compliance with rules" led to this decision. There are three main reasons why these colleges have lost recognition:

  • Lapses in security system and CCTV cameras

  • Lapses in Aadhar-based biometric attendance 

  • Vacant faculty posts in most colleges

While a majority of these colleges are in Puducherry, Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, West Bengal, and Assam, a college in Arunachal Pradesh that was over a century old also lost recognition, along with Tamil Nadu’s reputed Stanley Medical College.

However, NMC's Dr Rajeev Sood has said that medical colleges shouldn't be worried about this.

“This is not new. Monitoring has become stricter and inspections have been done before too. Being de-recognised is also not a final decision.”
Dr Rajeev Sood to NDTV

FIT spoke to doctors and public health experts to understand the repercussions of this crackdown on medical colleges. 

40 Medical Colleges Lose Recognition: What This Means For India's Public Health

  1. 1. First Of All, What Do NMC Guidelines Say?

    The National Medical Commission has laid down a set of guidelines or “Minimum Standard Requirements” for all medical colleges that want to enroll more than 250 students annually.

    Last amended in 2018, these guidelines deal with issues like accommodation for all staff members, having mandatory departments such as surgery, human anatomy, dentistry, psychiatry, etc.

    About the CCTV cameras installation, the guidelines say that live streaming of classrooms and wards should be available “to enable the Council to maintain a constant vigil on the standard of medical education/ training being imparted.”

    In addition to that, the NMC also mandates biometric attendance for all faculty members or ‘Online Faculty Attendance Monitoring Systems’ that are linked to their Aadhar for verification. 

    40 medical colleges in India have lost recognition over the last two months for not being up to NMC's standards.

    Apart from these, NMC guidelines have also outlined a certain number of professors, associate professors, lecturers, senior residents, and junior residents that each department must have. Failure to comply could lead to de-recognition of the colleges.

    Expand
  2. 2. Are These Valid Reasons To Derecognise A College?

    The doctors that FIT spoke to said that while vacant faculty positions are a genuine reason to derecognise a college, the other administrative issues can be rectified easily.

    Dr Faiz Abbas Abidi, who works on biomedical research, public health issues, and digital health interventions, said:

    “We need to address the concern of vacant faculty positions in multiple medical colleges in the country. There needs to be permanent appointments of faculties, senior resident doctors, and junior resident doctors.”

    He added that contractual doctors, paramedic staff, and temporary/guest faculty can’t be allowed to run wards and manage hospitals. “Staff crunch is affecting the healthcare ecosystem of the country,” he said.

    Dr N Devadasan, co-founder of the Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru, agreed with Dr Abidi. He told FIT,

    “If you don’t have a faculty to teach, students will memorise from their books and become half-baked doctors without any clinical grounding.”

    He went on to say that a doctor who does not have basic clinical skills does more harm than good to patients. “That is what the NMC is trying to crackdown on,” he claimed.

    Dr Sulphi N, the state president of Indian Medical Association's Kerala unit, also felt that this is a good decision for healthcare in the long run.

    "We need more medical colleges, that’s true. But we also need to check the quality of medical professionals we’re already producing."
    Dr Sulphi N

    Why this insistence on biometric attendance though? Dr Devadasan explains that earlier professors would enroll to teach in multiple colleges. Through biometric attendance, the NMC is trying to ensure that a professor enrolled in college A is teaching there instead of dividing his time between four other colleges as well.

    Expand
  3. 3. What Does Derecognition Actually Mean For These Colleges?

    A medical college losing recognition doesn’t mean that it’ll be shut down. It simply means that the college would not be allowed to take any further admissions. 

    Dr Pooja Tripathi, a public health specialist, said that while derecognition would not immediately impact public health, it will put the careers of several aspiring doctors and medical students at risk. 

    “When a medical college was derecognised in Gorakhpur, the students’ exams that were to be held in February were postponed to November and they lost a precious year while their counterparts went on for jobs or postgraduate courses.”
    Dr Pooja Tripathi

    However, Dr Sood has clarified that students in the "second, third, or fourth year have nothing to worry about."

    But Dr Tripathi adds caution that often rectification, reapplying, and receiving recognition might take time too in certain cases. 

    “It will send the wrong message to the medical community,” said Dr Tripathi. 
    Expand
  4. 4. Will This Decision Impact Public Health?

    When India is already struggling with a shortage of medical colleges and hospitals, will derecognising almost 150 such institutions impact public health?

    Yes. Dr Abidi told FIT:

    Derecognition of these colleges will affect people, especially those from the marginalised communities, who come to these hospitals. But if you do not have adequate healthcare workers, you cannot expect a hospital to function properly. You won’t anyway be producing quality doctors in absence of trained teachers and doctors."
    Dr Faiz Abbas Abidi

    But again, there's not much to worry about. Medical colleges in India have almost doubled since 2014 – from 387 in 2014 to 654 in 2023, PTI reported. And so have seats in undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses – the former increasing by 94 percent and the latter by 107 percent.

    Expand
  5. 5. Will Colleges Be Given Time To Rectify Administrative Issues?

    While hiring trained people for the vacant posts might time some time, correcting administrative issues like CCTV installations and biometric attendance shouldn't pose a huge problem.

    The Union Health Ministry had already cautioned medical colleges back in December 2022 to strictly follow NMC guidelines.

    Dr Devadasan said, "NMC didn’t close down these colleges overnight. They investigated this for weeks and did a detailed enquiry."

    Even now, they have the option to appeal to the NMC within 30 days of their derecognition. Following this, they can also reach out to the central ministry itself.

    Dr Sood told NDTV that around 20 medical colleges have already appealed to the NMC.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

First Of All, What Do NMC Guidelines Say?

The National Medical Commission has laid down a set of guidelines or “Minimum Standard Requirements” for all medical colleges that want to enroll more than 250 students annually.

Last amended in 2018, these guidelines deal with issues like accommodation for all staff members, having mandatory departments such as surgery, human anatomy, dentistry, psychiatry, etc.

About the CCTV cameras installation, the guidelines say that live streaming of classrooms and wards should be available “to enable the Council to maintain a constant vigil on the standard of medical education/ training being imparted.”

In addition to that, the NMC also mandates biometric attendance for all faculty members or ‘Online Faculty Attendance Monitoring Systems’ that are linked to their Aadhar for verification. 

40 medical colleges in India have lost recognition over the last two months for not being up to NMC's standards.

Apart from these, NMC guidelines have also outlined a certain number of professors, associate professors, lecturers, senior residents, and junior residents that each department must have. Failure to comply could lead to de-recognition of the colleges.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Are These Valid Reasons To Derecognise A College?

The doctors that FIT spoke to said that while vacant faculty positions are a genuine reason to derecognise a college, the other administrative issues can be rectified easily.

Dr Faiz Abbas Abidi, who works on biomedical research, public health issues, and digital health interventions, said:

“We need to address the concern of vacant faculty positions in multiple medical colleges in the country. There needs to be permanent appointments of faculties, senior resident doctors, and junior resident doctors.”

He added that contractual doctors, paramedic staff, and temporary/guest faculty can’t be allowed to run wards and manage hospitals. “Staff crunch is affecting the healthcare ecosystem of the country,” he said.

Dr N Devadasan, co-founder of the Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru, agreed with Dr Abidi. He told FIT,

“If you don’t have a faculty to teach, students will memorise from their books and become half-baked doctors without any clinical grounding.”

He went on to say that a doctor who does not have basic clinical skills does more harm than good to patients. “That is what the NMC is trying to crackdown on,” he claimed.

Dr Sulphi N, the state president of Indian Medical Association's Kerala unit, also felt that this is a good decision for healthcare in the long run.

"We need more medical colleges, that’s true. But we also need to check the quality of medical professionals we’re already producing."
Dr Sulphi N

Why this insistence on biometric attendance though? Dr Devadasan explains that earlier professors would enroll to teach in multiple colleges. Through biometric attendance, the NMC is trying to ensure that a professor enrolled in college A is teaching there instead of dividing his time between four other colleges as well.

0

What Does Derecognition Actually Mean For These Colleges?

A medical college losing recognition doesn’t mean that it’ll be shut down. It simply means that the college would not be allowed to take any further admissions. 

Dr Pooja Tripathi, a public health specialist, said that while derecognition would not immediately impact public health, it will put the careers of several aspiring doctors and medical students at risk. 

“When a medical college was derecognised in Gorakhpur, the students’ exams that were to be held in February were postponed to November and they lost a precious year while their counterparts went on for jobs or postgraduate courses.”
Dr Pooja Tripathi

However, Dr Sood has clarified that students in the "second, third, or fourth year have nothing to worry about."

But Dr Tripathi adds caution that often rectification, reapplying, and receiving recognition might take time too in certain cases. 

“It will send the wrong message to the medical community,” said Dr Tripathi. 
ADVERTISEMENT

Will This Decision Impact Public Health?

When India is already struggling with a shortage of medical colleges and hospitals, will derecognising almost 150 such institutions impact public health?

Yes. Dr Abidi told FIT:

Derecognition of these colleges will affect people, especially those from the marginalised communities, who come to these hospitals. But if you do not have adequate healthcare workers, you cannot expect a hospital to function properly. You won’t anyway be producing quality doctors in absence of trained teachers and doctors."
Dr Faiz Abbas Abidi

But again, there's not much to worry about. Medical colleges in India have almost doubled since 2014 – from 387 in 2014 to 654 in 2023, PTI reported. And so have seats in undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses – the former increasing by 94 percent and the latter by 107 percent.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Will Colleges Be Given Time To Rectify Administrative Issues?

While hiring trained people for the vacant posts might time some time, correcting administrative issues like CCTV installations and biometric attendance shouldn't pose a huge problem.

The Union Health Ministry had already cautioned medical colleges back in December 2022 to strictly follow NMC guidelines.

Dr Devadasan said, "NMC didn’t close down these colleges overnight. They investigated this for weeks and did a detailed enquiry."

Even now, they have the option to appeal to the NMC within 30 days of their derecognition. Following this, they can also reach out to the central ministry itself.

Dr Sood told NDTV that around 20 medical colleges have already appealed to the NMC.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Health   Explainer   Medical Colleges 

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