Union minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that there is "degeneration" in medical education in the country and stressed on the need for its "radical overhauling" with due emphasis on ethics.

"Radical changes are needed in medical education today as were needed 15-20 years ago. Students need to be shown the right path, taught the right ethics, while they are still in college.

"Unfortunately, it is not happening, including in the college that I went to. Instead of revolution, what I find is there is degeneration (in medical education)," he claimed.

Speaking at the 35th Founder’s Day of the National Heart Institute (NHI) here, the Union Science and Technology Minister also suggested a short term programme, in which medical students can visit IITs and engineering students can visit medical institutions to exchange knowledge.

"Having worked in science and technology field as a minister, I believe joint application of minds of a doctor and an engineer should find solution for problems of the society," he said.

The former Union health minister rued the "extreme shortage" of doctors in the country, and said, "Even when I visit AIIMS, I feel it does not have the same quality of teachers that we used to have in our student days." 

Addressing the audience earlier, NHI CEO and Chief Cardiac Surgeon O P Yadava said, "It has been a tumultuous journey over the last 35 years. We have seen the ups, but we also had our fair share of travails and rejections." 

The NHI has recently signed an MoU with the Uttarakhand government to set up a tertiary care centre for angiography and angioplasty in Almora, he added.

Professor Emeritus, Neurosurgery at AIIMS, P N Tandon, delivered the ‘National Heart Oration’ on the occasion and also lamented "the fall in the quality of medical education" in the country, saying a radical change is needed.