A hospital seeking permission to start a medical college will now need to have rural or urban health centres affiliated to it, the new guidelines issued by the National Medical Commission (NMC) mandate.
According to the new guidelines, the rural/urban health centres affiliated to medical colleges shall be used for internship training of MBBS students. All MBBS graduates are supposed to finish 12 months internship training to become eligible to practice medicine.
The National Medical Commission guidelines titled, “Guidelines for Under Graduate Courses under Establishment of New Medical Institutions, Starting of New Medical Courses, Increase of Seats for Existing Courses & Assessment and Rating Regulations, 2023”, says the number of rural/urban health centres to be adopted by hospitals seeking to start a medical college should fulfil the need of posting 15 interns per centre.
“These centres shall be owned by the college or it should be affiliated to government-owned health centres. If it is the latter, the academic control shall be with the dean/principal of the college for training of interns in community oriented primary health care and rural based health education for the rural community attached to it,” the guidelines stated.
As per the new guidelines, the health centres have to be within a distance of 30 kms except in X category (Tier-l) cities as amended where it shall be within 50 kms.
In case of megacity or metro cities, the guideline suggests, there is a need to have flexibility of adoption of families in various areas including urban slums. It adds that interns can be distributed to various OPDs of the teaching hospital like Tuberculosis (TB) clinic, immunisation clinic, anti-rabies clinic, which are also important learning outcomes for interns as well in case of metro cities.
Dr SK Sarin, ex-chairperson of the board of governors, Medical Council of India, said the mandate for medical colleges to be affiliated with rural/urban health centres is a good step.
Often, it has been seen that hospitals attached to medical colleges aren’t fully operational or have limited footfall.
The new norms say there shall be a minimum daily OPD attendance of eight patients (old & new) per student intake annually in the specialties or subjects of undergraduate curriculum.
For in-patients, the National Medical Commission guidelines suggest, average occupancy shall be a minimum of 80% per annum. Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance has also been made mandatory.
Further, colleges seeking increased number of seats cannot exceed 150 MBBS students from 2024-25. Any additional permitted seat quota for admissions shall be within the number of seats granted for admission to that college, the guidelines notified on August 16 stated.