22 July :In order to ensure availability of doctors in rural areas of the country, the Government has “in principle” decided to make one year combined rural posting mandatory for medical graduates seeking admission in PG courses.
While on their rural postings, the MBBS doctors would be attached to Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres in rural areas, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
“The Government has in principle decided that the rural postings will be mandatory for eligibility to admission in Post Graduate Medical Courses,” Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in a written reply on Wednesday.
However, Azad had earlier said that the Government would provide special incentives to doctors ready to work in rural areas instead of making rural postings compulsory.
The current doctor to patient ratio in the country is 1:1,500 with there being a severe shortage of doctors in rural areas. (NZ-22/07)
Trauma centres to come up along national highways: Azad
A large number of trauma centres will come up along national highways across the country during the 11th Plan period to take care of accident victims, Lok Sabha was informed.
Observing that accidents have increased on the new highways being developed by the government, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Rs 732 crore has been earmarked in the 11th Plan for a new scheme to construct trauma care centres along the highways.
Asked whether air ambulance system was also being promoted, he said there was no such agency at the national level and none in the public sector.
Only one private operator was at present providing four heli-ambulances after having tied up with private hospitals like Apollo and Max.
On questions relating to improving infrastructure, drug availability to ensure timely treatment for patients suffering from fatal diseases, Azad said several measures were already being implemented, including setting up of AIIMS like institutions, upgrading of existing government colleges and setting up new nursing and paramedical institutions.
Preventive measures to control fatal diseases were also being implemented, like providing vaccines for various diseases including Japanese encephalitis and Hepatitis B.
While a National Cancer Control Programme was being modified to meet the gap between cancer care facilities and trained manpower, Health Minister’s Cancer Fund has been set up to provide financial assistance to BPL patients, Azad said.
No complete autonomy to AIIMS, says Azad
The Government is not in favour of giving complete autonomy to prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on the ground that if Director “goes berserk” the situation would be difficult to retrieve, Rajya Sabha was told on Wednesday.
Responding to Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley’s observation that ministers control over AIIMS, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad asked “the question is to what extent” autonomy could be given.
“Autonomy of the institute should be maintained to the extent that Minister should not interfere in the day-to-day functioning of the institute,” he said replying to a debate on the working of his ministry.
Azad said the minister as President of the Institute should confine to policy issues.
However, he made it clear that government could not give complete autonomy to AIIMS.
“The question is autonomy to what extent. To some extent, yes. (but) what about when Director goes berserk”, he asked adding if minister went wrong he was answerable to Parliament.
“Should he (minister) go wrong, he can be taken to task by the public and Parliament”, he said.
He said it will not be easy to dislodge an “inconvenient” Director as he is responsible neither to public nor to Parliament.
During the tenure of previous Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, AIIMS had witnessed prolonged tussle between him and the then Director P Venugopal.
Ramadoss who was present in the House, however, received a clean chit from Azad on criticism of his predecessor on the issue of closure of three public sector vaccine manufacturing units.
Azad explained that it was done at the insistence of the WHO, which had even warned derecognising of the national regulatory authority saying that the PSUs were not adhering to good manufacturing practices.
“He (Ramadoss) has not done anything wrong,” Azad said.