THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government’s move to convert general/district hospitals into Medical Colleges has raised hackles of medicos who allege that the move will deny treatment to the poor patients and sound the death knell for the primary and tertiary healthcare system in the state. The doctors point out that the conversion bid will only destroy the public health system in the state. If the government is that concerned about the health of the people, then it should have initiated steps to upgrade the district/general/taluk hospitals into speciality hospitals.
The government has already converted Manjeri DH into a medical college. It has also been decided to merge the General Hospital and the Women and Children Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram to form the new Medical College. The Pathanamthitta District Hospital is also being converted. Medicos unions - Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) and the Kerala Government Specialist Doctors Association (KGSDA)- have come out against the move, stating that the move would only have adverse impact on the health sector. The KGMOA had already kickstarted an agitation and has announced that it would stir at all places where major hospitals are being converted into Medical Colleges.
Calling for protecting the government hospitals, ensuring quality and quantity of drugs at the hospitals, KGMOA state president Dr S Prameela Devi said: “The government should take steps to upgrade the existing district and general hospitals into super- speciality hospitals. Let the government take steps to provide super-speciality facilities like cardiology and neurology at all the district/general hospitals, which would be of great benefit to the people rather than starting institutions for churning out medical students,” she said.
Noting that the new medical colleges would only create more MBBS doctors who will also be pushed into joblessness, she opined that the government should in lieu create specialist doctors, whose numbers have been dwindling in the state.
KGSDA state secretary Dr Sunjith Ravi also mentioned that the major hospitals should be upgraded to speciality hospitals, which could help the people in a better way. Apart from this, he said that PG courses could also be started here that could bring down the dearth of specialists in the state. Stating that the association was not against Medical Colleges, Prameela Devi said, “we are only opposing the move to convert the major existing hospitals into medical colleges. Let the government build new medical colleges.” She also questioned the logic of having two medical colleges in the same district. With regard to deployment of staff also, she said that the association had some reservations and opposed the deemed deputation.