Thursday, April 3, 2008

Latest Industry News | India short of 6 lakh doctors

Even as India faces an acute shortage of manpower in the healthcare sector, the country holds the top position when it comes to its physicians migrating to developed countries like Britain and the US. According to a Planning Commission report, while India is short of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and two lakh dental surgeons, Indian doctors who have migrated to developed countries form nearly 5% of their medical workforce. Almost 60,000 Indian physicians are estimated to be working in countries like US, UK, Canada and Australia alone. India, on the other hand, has a dismal patient-doctor ratio. According to the report, for every 10,000 Indians, there is one doctor. In contrast, Australia has 249 doctors for every 10,000 people, Canada has 209, UK has 166 and US has 548. India also faces an acute shortage of dental surgeons. At present, the number of dental surgeons registered in India stands at just over 73,000 against a requirement of 3 lakh. Similarly, the health ministry estimates that there needs to be one nurse for every 500 people. According to this, India required 21 lakh nurses in 2007. But only 11 lakh nurses were available. This has made the Planning Commission suggest that the medical education sector should be opened up completely for private sector participation and companies should be allowed to establish medical and dental colleges just as they have been allowed to open nursing colleges. "The group is of the view that the only way to accomplish this (bridging the gap in doctors) is for the medical education sector to be opened up completely for private sector participation. Other entry barriers such as the requirement of land and built-up space need also to be lowered to realistic levels in order to facilitate the opening of new colleges. Government's role should be limited to opening a few high quality institutions dedicated to research," the report said.


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