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One doctor per 834 Indians, one nurse per 476 people: Govt data

Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, presented this information in Parliament, highlighting the steps taken to increase doctor availability. Measures include schemes for establishing new medical colleges, upgrading existing ones, and creating AIIMS institutions. 

India has one doctor per 834 people, one nurse per 476 people: Govt data
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First Published Dec 12, 2023, 8:14 PM IST

India has one doctor per 834 people while in the case of nursing personnel, the number stands at one nurse per 476 people, as per data shared by the government in Parliament. In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar cited information from the National Medical Commission to give an update on the ratio of patients to doctors and nurses.

She said, "As informed by the National Medical Commission (NMC), there are 13,08,009 allopathic doctors registered with the State Medical Councils and the National Medical Commission (NMC) as of June 2022. Assuming 80 per cent availability of registered allopathic doctors and 5.65 lakh AYUSH doctors, the doctor-population ratio in the country is 1:834. Also, there are 36.14 lakh nursing personnel in the country as of December 2022. Assuming 80 per cent availability of nursing personnel, the nurse-population ratio is 1:476."

The MoS informed that a number of steps had been steps to further increase the availability of doctors in the country. These include:

* A centrally-sponsored scheme to establish new medical colleges by upgrading district/referral hospitals, with 108 out of 157 approved colleges already functional. 

* Another scheme focuses on strengthening/upgrading existing state government/central government medical colleges to increase both MBBS and PG seats. 

* The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) includes a component called 'Upgradation of Government Medical Colleges by the construction of Super Specialty Blocks', with 75 approved projects, 64 of which have been completed.

* Further, the government aims to establish new AIIMS, with approval granted for 22 AIIMS, and undergraduate courses initiated in 19 of them. 

* To address shortages in faculty, staff, and infrastructure, there are relaxed norms for setting up medical colleges. The Diplomate of National Board (DNB) qualification is now recognized for faculty appointments. Additionally, the age limit for appointments, extensions, or re-employment against posts of teachers, deans, principals, and directors in medical colleges has been extended to 70 years.

In efforts to increase the number of nurses in the country, the minister outlined several measures:

* The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) has approved 157 medical colleges since 2014, and the budget speech for 2023-24 announced the establishment of 157 nursing colleges within these medical institutions.

* Relaxation in the Student-patient ratio for Nursing Educational Programmes has been implemented, changing it from 1:5 to 1:3.

* The land requirement for Nursing Educational Institutes has been eased, allowing the construction of a 54,000 sqft building for the School/College of Nursing, including a Hostel, instead of the previous 3-acre requirement.

* While a 100-bed parent hospital has been a prerequisite for opening GNM and B.Sc. (Nursing) programs since 2013-2014, this requirement has been relaxed for hilly and tribal areas.

* Relaxed norms for teaching faculty have been introduced to initiate B.Sc. (N) Programmes, with institutions granted a maximum of 100 seats for B.Sc.(N)/GNM programs even without a Medical College if their parent hospital has 300 beds.

* Distance requirements from school to hospital have been relaxed, along with the relaxation of eligibility criteria for admission to nursing programmes.

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