In a significant step towards affordable medical education, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has notified its first major regulation applicable to all or any new medical colleges proposing to be established and to be established proposing to extend their annual MBBS intake from the tutorial year 2021-22.
• The new regulation has deleted the quantum of land required for fixing a medical college and its affiliated teaching hospitals (all buildings are expected to evolve to existing building bye-laws).
• The notification defines the minimum requirements of space for all student-centric areas within the institution and therefore the functional areas required.
• The standards outline the sharing of all available teaching spaces by all departments (compared to the inflexibility within the regulations so far) thereby mandating all teaching spaces to be enabled for e-learning and also digitally linked to at least one another (it was only desirable earlier).
• Under the new regulation, a well-equipped “Skills Laboratory” for training students is important now. It also defines a Medical Education Unit for training medical teachers in educational pedagogy.
• The space required for library and therefore the number of books and journals are rationalized and reduced.
• Student counselling services are mandated recognizing the increasing stress observed amongst medical students and residents in recent times.
• Recognizing that a well-functioning hospital is at the core of medical training, the new regulation now mandates the supply of a totally functional 300 bed multi-speciality hospital for a minimum of 2 years at the time of application for establishing a replacement medical college (the earlier regulations didn’t specify the amount of functionality).
• The beds required within the various departments of the teaching hospital are rationalized to align with the annual student intake, teaching time to be spent within the clinical specialties and therefore the minimum clinical material required for undergraduate medical training which has resulted in about 10% reduction in teaching bed needs compared to the sooner regulations.
• The human resource of teaching faculty has also been rationalized within the new Regulation.
• Two new teaching departments have now become mandatory altogether medical college hospitals for the training of undergraduate medical students.
• These include the Department of medicine (which has replaced the sooner Casualty Department) and can ensure access and prompt, appropriate response to emergencies particularly trauma; and therefore the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation which shall fill an outsized gap for those in need of comprehensive rehabilitative care.
• The regulation has also outlined “desirable” and “aspirational” goals beyond the minimum requirements stated within the standards so on stimulate medical institutions to strive for excellence.
• These elements are going to be utilized by the National Medical Commission while rating the medical institutions within the country