India’s new medical education regulator, the National Medical Commission (NMC), has recently released its first major regulations for MBBS admissions and establishment of medical colleges, entitled “Minimum Requirements For Annual MBBS Admissions Regulations (2020)”, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The new notification replaces the “Minimum Standard Requirements for Medical Colleges, 1999 (for 50/100/150/200/250 Annual Admissions)” which was released by the former regulatory body Medical Council of India (MCI).
The new regulations shall be applicable to all new medical colleges proposing to be established and to the already established medical colleges proposing to increase their annual MBBS intake from the academic year 2021-22. During the transitory period, the established medical colleges will be governed by the relevant regulations existing prior to the current notification.
“The new standards have been defined by keeping the functional requirements of the institution(s). These allow optimisation and flexibility in utilising available resources, and harnessing modern educational technology tools to facilitate moving towards quality education, even when resources are relatively scarce,” the ministry said.
The new regulations have deleted the quantum of land required for setting up a medical college and its affiliated teaching hospitals. The notification defines the minimum requirements of space for all student-centric areas in the institution and the functional areas required. The new norms mandate all teaching spaces to be enabled for e-learning and also digitally linked to one another to ensure sharing of all available teaching spaces by all departments compared to the inflexibility in the regulations so far.
Besides, the rules also mandate a “skills laboratory” that have mannequins for the training of students. It also defines a Medical Education Unit for training medical teachers. The space required for library and the number of books and journals have been rationalised and reduced. Student counselling services have also been mandated recognizing the increasing stress observed amongst medical students and residents in recent times.
The norms further mandate the availability of a fully functional 300-bed multi-speciality hospital for at least 2 years at the time of application for establishing a new medical college. The beds required in the various departments of the teaching hospital have been rationalized to align with the annual student intake, teaching time to be spent in the clinical specialities and the minimum clinical material required for undergraduate medical training which has resulted in about 10% reduction in teaching bed needs compared to the earlier regulations.
In addition to the minimum prescribed faculty, a provision for visiting faculty has also been made to enhance the quality of training, the ministry said.
Apart from this, the body has also made it mandatory to add two new teaching departments, including the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in all medical college hospitals for the training of undergraduate medical students. These will ensure access and prompt, an appropriate response to emergencies particularly trauma and comprehensive rehabilitative care.
The regulations have also outlined “desirable” and “aspirational” goals beyond the minimum requirements stated in the standards so as to stimulate medical institutions to strive for excellence.