More patients more specialists more seats

New Delhi: As soon as we fall sick, we make a beeline for the specialists’ chamber, don’t we? But then, packed like a jar of jam, the clinics often scare us, make us wait for hours before we can finally consult the doctor. By then, the prospect of us having all horrifying diseases have already made us very sick.

Perhaps, it isn’t even the sickness, but the need to wait for the doctor’s glance that makes us sicker.

But then, with so many people opting for medicine after their 12th exams, why is there so much population inside the doctor’s clinic? Because there are very few specialists.

Keeping this in mind, the health ministry has given the green signal to increase postgraduate seats in major departments at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to address the severe dearth of specialists across the country.

The departments like gynaecology , paediatrics, burns and plastic surgery , emergency medicines, rheumatology and biotechnology will get more PG seats. While seats will be almost doubled in departments like mother & child–which deals with obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics–and burns, plastic & reconstructive surgery, there will significant ramp-up in other streams, a senior official said.

“There is a huge need for super specialists and with the increasing disease burden and footfall at AIIMS, it is essential to expand medical education capacities at the earliest,” the official said.

Postgraduate seats in obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics will be increased from 22 to 44 by 2017-18, while those in burns and plastic surgery will go up from 12 to 25 by end of 2017. The institute will also hire more faculty and expand services in some of these streams.

According to estimates, there are around 9.2 lakh doctors registered with Medical Council of India. There are about 4, 50,000 specialist doctors in various streams. There are about 40,000 cardiologists against a patient population of 4.5 crore–a doctor-patient ratio of 1:1,125.

The situation is worse in case of nephrology. While about 10% of the overall population is suffering from kidney diseases, there are merely 1,500 nephrologists in the country, a doctor-patient ratio of about 1:8,000.

In case of cancer, there are around 1,000 trained oncologists in the country and the ratio of oncologists to cancer patients is about 1:2,000.


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