With Tamil Nadu's medical counselling sessions at its peak, where 31,000 students battle for 2,200 seats, the government has stalled efforts to increase the number of MBBS seats in the state.
The Medical Council of India (MCI), after inspection conducted in January, resulted in faculty shortage and poor infrastructure in TN's medical colleges. This lead to the rejection of the proposal to increase seats from 150 to 250 in Madurai, Tiruneveli and Coimbatore medical colleges and also Kanykumari Government Medical College.
"In the recruitment conducted by Medical Services Recruitment Board at the end of 2014, only around 300 applications were received for the post of 1,727 assistant surgeons. Hardly 100 joined. Still there are more than 1,500 vacancies for specialists," said Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association president Dr K Senthil.
Even if the state government takes immediate steps to rectify the issue, it will take a few years to get adequate specialists, he said. "It will take time for the existing faculty members to get promoted to associate and assistant professor cadres," he said.
According to experts, the infrastructure could be improved by funding but the number of teachers cannot be increased in the near future is not an easy task. A long-term strategy and execution will alone help this situation, said the experts.
The shortage of teaching faculty in the Coimbatore college was 17.98%, in Tirunelveli it was 16.73%, Madurai 14.60% and Kanyakumari 18.2%.
There are plenty of vacancies in resident doctor categories as well in these colleges. For example, the shortage in this category in Tirunelveli is 26.59 %, while it is 10.20% in Kanyakumari. In October 2014, when the first inspection was conducted by MCI, Madurai had the worst shortage of 30%.