West Bengal cabinet on Monday agreed to a new policy to allow the private sector to use state government hospitals as medical and nursing colleges even if they do not have 300-bed infrastructure as required by the central policy. The private medical and nursing colleges can be set up in state government hospitals in lieu of payment of user charges to increase the number of such institutes in the state. This was decided in a cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, decided, state chief secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi said.
Seven new medical colleges will now be set up in as many districts, including in North 24 Parganas, Jalpaiguri and Jhargram, he said. “It has been decided that if the private sector is interested in setting up a medical college it will now be able to use the infrastructure of a government hospital for up to five years even if the hospital does not have the stipulated infrastructure of 300 beds,” he said adding that the same principle will apply to nursing colleges. In addition to this, emphasis is being laid on building private infrastructure so that there are enough trained doctors and nurses in the state in the coming days, the chief secretary said.
In December last year, the state government had invited bids for using large state government hospitals as private medical colleges in lieu of payment of user charges. The West Bengal Health and Family Welfare Department had sought expression of interest for use of government hospitals to facilitate the establishment of private medical colleges based on National Medical Commission (NMC) guidelines.