“Work on holiday” appeal to medical specialists 
New Delhi, September 01, 2014 –
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, has appealed to the faculty of medical colleges to include simulation as a training method. Its effectiveness as a bridge between ‘didactic’ medical teaching through lectures, tutorials, laboratory work and problem-based learning is being increasingly acknowledged the world over.

“We don’t want an outdated medical curriculum framework. Our doctors have been world beaters throughout the 20th century. To keep our place there, our medical education planners should change with the times,” the Minister said while inaugurating the 5th Annual Conference of the Society of Cardiac-Anaesthesiology, here today.

While admitting that setting up ‘adult’ simulation equipment – paediatric ones are still under development – may be expensive and only affordable for very few institutions, there exist low-cost options like simulation mannequins. The government could step in with assistance schemes in a phased manner, he stated.

Felicitating the cardio-anaesthesiologist community for opening up the prospects by launching the “World Simulation Society”, Dr Harsh Vardhan observed that hospital patients are increasingly articulating the fear that student and resident doctors may be “practicing” on them. On the other hand, students feel that they are inadequately trained in history training, physical examination, diagnosis and management, he added.

“Medical simulation could be the answer to this crucial gap. It has been proved to enhance knowledge, comfort in procedures and for teaching through teamwork and communication. Many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of simulation in the teaching of basic science and clinical knowledge, procedural skills, teamwork, communications and assessment of undergraduate and post-graduate medical educational levels,” the Minister added.

The acute shortage of professional anaesthetists in the country also figured in the Minister’s address. He observed that in the rural areas this is resulting in higher infant and maternal mortality. Lacking trained anaesthetists, carrying out Caesarean births is rendered impossible, he said.

He wanted the medical community to seriously contemplate out-of-the-box solutions. “We need uncommon solutions to our huge health sector issues.”

In this context he mentioned the problem of the hilly states of India where the state governments are finding it difficult to provide secondary and tertiary care. A possible solution could be a ‘work on holiday’ package for specialist doctors.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said today that during his recent visit to Mussoorie he had confronted the critical lapses in the public health system of hilly terrains. Though Mussoorie is one of the top tourist destinations of northern India, its local population has only two small government hospitals with very few trained doctors. The total absence of specialists is leading to many preventable deaths, the Minister said.

“The mismatch between the natural beauty of the region stretching from Dehradun to the Jaunsaar-Bawar tribal belt, and, the ugly reality of people dying for want of even the basic primary care is a problem we must address with an out-of-the-box approach,” he remarked.

The Minister exhorted specialist doctors to visit hill stations as guests of the state government. While resting, they could deliver their professional services as cardiologists, gynaecologists, neurologists, anaesthetists, etc. while simultaneously enjoying the state government’s hospitality with their families. This should be considered by them as an extension of their service.

The Minister said that he would circulate this suggestion among the state governments soon. He recognises that a far bigger challenge than opening hospitals is to get people to visit them in their times of need. But if secondary and tertiary care could be taken care of with this novel approach, the governments of the states could concentrate fully on the primary health needs of the people which is the first concern, he said.

The conference was attended by a galaxy of big names from the medical communities of India and abroad. They included Dr Navin C. Nanda, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease, UAB School of Medicine of Alabama, USA, Dr Kumar Belani, Professor of Anaesthesiology, University of Minnesota, USA, Dr Bishnu Panigrahi of Fortis Healthcare, Dr H. K. Chopra, president of the Cardiological Society of India, Dr Yatin Mehta, President of the Simulation Society of India, Dr Poonam Malhotra, organising secretary of the conference, and Dr M.C. Mishra, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences. CCI Newswire


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