Medical manna: Public health must offer incentives to recruit doctors

Source: The post is based on the article “Medical manna: Public health must offer incentives to recruit doctors” published in The Times of India on 17th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 3 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

Relevance: About increasing doctor count.

News: There is an increase in undergraduate medical seats from 53,000 in 2014 to 96,000 in 2022 and postgraduate seats from 31,000 seats to 63,000.

About the status of increasing doctor count

Between 2011 and 2021, government medical seats have increased faster, from 18,000 to 48,000 seats, while private seats went from 22,000 to 44,000.

India has 9 active doctors per 10,000 population. India trail China (22), US (26) and UK (30) in this regard. But at our current pace of adding nearly 1 lakh doctors a year, these deficits will be wiped out in 10-20 years.

Graduates from government colleges have bonds mandating rural service for 1-2 years. The increasing doctor count might address India’s problem of too few doctors in rural areas and backward states in future.

What are the concerns associated with increasing doctor count?

All southern states have over 10 UG seats per 10,000 population because they invested early in medical education. Similar numbers in UP and Bengal are 4, Bihar and Jharkhand 2.

As quantity is increasing, ensuring quality medical education will be tougher. So, India should address this interstate variation before it creates further challenges.

What does India need to do with an increased doctor count?

a) With thousands of new doctors, the public health system must grow massively to absorb them into its ranks, b) Government should provide jobs at attractive salaries that can address the issue of doctors preferring cities, and c) India should promote migration of medical graduates from south to north.

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