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More MBBS seats may be added to state kitty this year

HYDERABAD: The state is expected to have more MBBS seats in its kitty what with the Centre last week announcing an additional 10,000 MBBS seats in state and central medical colleges across the country.

Government medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh currently have about 2,400 MBBS seats. "If there is a proportionate distribution, AP will get around 800 new MBBS seats," said Dr K Ramesh Reddy, member of the Medical Council of India. "This is aimed at improving the doctor patient ratio," he added.

Experts said that some of the district headquarter hospitals could also be upgraded to medical colleges as the Centre has agreed to fund anywhere between 90% to 70% of the costs involved, officials said. The move will specially benefit the districts in the state which do not have a government medical college, said sources.

The announcement of the Centre has drawn flak from certain quarters which believe that the move will result in widening the skewed ratio of undergraduate to postgraduate seats in the country. There are about 50,000 MBBS seats both in the public and private sector compared to about 20,000 post graduate seats in the country.

Nevertheless, some have welcomed the move. Dr Ramesh Reddy said that a proportionate increase in the specialty seats is the need of the hour as currently, only one-third of the undergraduates are able to pursue post graduation due to paucity of seats. Also, exorbitant costs of seats in private colleges which demand capitation fee in crores also acts as a dampener, he added. "There is a need for about 5,000 post graduates seats to bring in some uniformity. We dont need just MBBS doctors, we need specialists now," he said.

Experts said that the move will not just benefit students but also the common man as it will lead to development of infrastructure. However, Dr A Y Chary, former director of medical education, said that the process is likely to be protracted. "The Centre is likely to allot seats based on the availability of medical colleges and required doctors in a state. A mere increase in the number of seats will therefore not suffice. Nurses, paramedical staff and all other ancillary units should also be provided to deliver health services effectively," said Dr Chary.