BENGALURU: A task force on Karnataka Public Health Policy has begun work on plugging the vacancies in hospitals, by facilitating training for resident doctors and students in rural areas.
The Karnataka Knowledge Commission had constituted the 16-member task force comprising doctors, academics, representatives of government agencies and industry experts to come out with a comprehensive report on the policy and recommend steps for positioning health ombudsmen for enhancing transparency, redressal of complaints and accessibility of health services in the state.
Various sub-committees were formed and each looked at strengthening of primary health centres, human resources, medical technology, training, electronic medical records, health ombudsmen and procedural costs, quality systems and access to affordable medicines.
The task force has approached the National Board of Examinations to train resident doctors in rural areas and students. So far, eight district hospitals have agreed to apply.
The doctors will have to clear a common entrance test to avail of training of four years across specialities like orthopaedics, paediatrics, gynaecology and general surgery.
“We will also tie up with the Healthcare Sector Skill Council to train people in other areas,” Dr Alex Thomas, executive director of Association of Health Practitioners of India, who is the member secretary of the task force, said.
“There are vacancies across specialities in hospitals. The number of PG seats in medical colleges should be increased. We found MBBS graduates prepare for PG exams for at least three years appearing for exams again, or taking classes from coaching institutes. Every year, 1,50,000 MBBS doctors are sitting at home when we have dearth of doctors,” Thomas said.
The sub-committee on procedural costing will compare costs of commonly done procedures that are covered under government schemes and see what the government pays. “Be it a CABG (coronary artery bypass grafting) or knee replacement, the rates are very high. The National Accreditation Board of Hospitals, CMC-Vellore, IIM-Bangalore, medical wing of ISRO and other specialty associations will look into costs of various procedures and apprise the government on what it pays under various schemes,” he said.
Sometimes, the government schemes subsidies are too little for procedures that cost a lot more. This scientific research by the task force will give the government a fair idea on how much a procedure actually costs.
“We are also looking at a policy in geriatric care, technology in health, integrating various systems of medicine, maintaining electronic medical records and strengthening primary health care centres,” he said.
Dr Devi Shetty, chairperson, Narayana Hrudayalaya, is chairing the task force that includes prominent names like Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and managing director, Biocon.