Budget 2017: Doctors rejoice over FM Arun Jaitley's happy pill

The Director of Medical Education says the move will take the load off the bigger private hospitals and reduce the financial pressure on the common people as well. Representation Pic/Thinkstock
The Director of Medical Education says the move will take the load off the bigger private hospitals and reduce the financial pressure on the common people as well. Representation Pic/Thinkstock

It was just what the doctor(s) ordered. The city's medical fraternity is celebrating the Finance Minister's announcement in the Union Budget yesterday to introduce an additional 5,000 postgraduate seats in medical institutes per annum, along with Diplomate of National Board (DNB) courses being rolled out in big district hospitals and private hospitals, in an attempt to strengthen the secondary and tertiary level hospitals.

Wise decision
Welcoming the move, Dr. Avinash Supe, Director of Medical Education, said, "We have not been able to utilize our peripheral structures due to the lack of doctors. With the increase in number of PG students and introduction of the DNB course, it will not just benefit the population living beyond Bandra, but also take the load off the bigger private hospitals and reduce the financial pressure on the common people as well. It is a wise and positive decision."

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Though private hospitals in the city have an existing DNB course structure, an increase in the availability of the course would mean that the secondary and tertiary level hospitals would also have residential doctors. Kushal Tayde, who has completed a diploma in radiology, is all set to opt for the DNB course. "DNB is like MD and MS, the only difference being that it comes under the national board. Since the seats will now be increased, we will have more opportunities to get residency," said Tayde.

Systematic structure
"Earlier, the MBBS doctors wouldn't stay in one hospital, they would keep moving in search of better job opportunities. Now, since there would be a systematic structure in place, they will stay in a place for three years and the inconsistency would go," said Dr Ghajanan Rodge, who just completed his DNG course from the Lilavati Hospital. He added, "Districts that are in the extreme interiors would be positively affected by this as well."

Protect doctors too
Dr. Manoj Gandhi, secretary of the Bombay Nursing Homes Association said, "If reputed private hospitals have proper faculty, they can be encouraged to start DNB courses, but at the same time, the teaching in many government institutes needs to be improved and the complete MBBS and PG curriculum needs a complete change to make better doctors and affordable healthcare."

"Also, we are all ignoring the aspect of increase in assault on doctors where the government is not doing anything. What is the point in making more doctors to serve the society when we cannot protect them during their education?" Gandhi added.

The announcement

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Parliament: "We need to ensure adequate availability of specialist doctors to strengthen secondary and tertiary levels of health care. We have therefore decided to take steps to create an additional 5,000 postgraduate seats per annum. In addition, steps will be taken to roll out DNB courses in big district hospitals; strengthen PG teaching in select ESI and Municipal Corporation Hospitals; and encourage reputed private hospitals to start DNB courses."

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