The National Medical Commission (NMC) has approved an increase of 14 more seats for doctor of medicine (MD) at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH). With this, the number of MD seats at the college will go up to 18. The body, which regulates medical education and medical professionals, however, underlined that the college should provide all infrastructure in terms of teaching and non-teaching staff, buildings, equipment and hospital facilities as per the National Medical Commission norms. “The NMC has increased 14 more seats for MD. It is a very important development. We had applied for the increase of the MD seats at the NBMCH. The NMC finally gave its consent and will play a crucial role,” said NBMCH patient welfare committee chairman Gautam Deb today.
Earlier, the college had two seats for MD, but later it had gone up to four. According to a letter of intent issued on 5 August, the admission with an annual intake of 18 seats will start from the current academic year 2022-23. It also said that the acceptance letter should be sent by the college within one week from the date of issue of the letter. A representative of the NMC had made a visit to the college on 23 June to look into its infrastructure, as the medicine department had sent a proposal to increase the number of post-graduate seats. Meanwhile, BJP MLA of Siliguri Shankar Ghosh said he had also taken initiatives for the same. According to the letter, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista had written to the union health and family welfare minister Mansukh Mandaviya and sent a copy to the president of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board, NMC, Dr BN Gangadhar on 27 June.
Political analysts said the development showed that the BJP wanted to take credit for the increase in the number of seats. “NBMCH doctors had requested me to take initiatives, so that the number of PG seats is increased at the department of medicine, one of the most important disciplines, as it caters to a maximum number of patients daily. We remain proactive over development of the infrastructure in the health sector. We have lost an AIIMS-like hospital in north Bengal due to politics. I had written a letter to Darjeeling MP Raju Bista on 26 June, seeking his intervention in this important issue. I would like to convey my thanks to the NMC for the decision,” Mr Ghosh said today.
He had written to Mr Bista three days after the NMC visited the NBMCH, where he had mentioned that it was important to strengthen the quality of patient care of the hospital. Mr Ghosh had requested Dr Gangadhar to pursue the matter. In his letter, Mr Bista had told Mr Mandaviya that the increase in the seats would go a long way in building the capacity and train more professionals in the field of medicine. He also mentioned the close proximity of the principal health institution of the region with countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and caters to personnel of the BSF, CRPF, SSB, army around the ‘sensitive border regions.’