‘India has more specialists than general practitioners’

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) Indians need general physicians to address a majority of their health problems but the country has more specialists than basic MBBS doctors, experts feel.

For a country which produces an average of 50,000 MBBS doctors each year, a majority 30,000 opt for speciality or super-speciality courses, Naresh Gupta of the cardiology department of the Maulana Azad Medical college said here.
He said, as compared to other countries, India had more number of specialists. Gupta said that the 398 medical colleges in India produce specialists in fields, which do not exist anywhere else.
He was speaking at a discussion on ‘Specialisation and super-specialisation in medicine– the more the merrier”, organised by Consumer’s India in collaboration with the India International Centre here Tuesday evening.
“We have a very good network system of health care but the functioning of that network is not very strong. For posts in primary health care centres, even specialists apply as it is a government job, which is bad for both the patient and doctor.”
“We have a large number of problems which can be addressed by a basic doctor or even less than a basic doctor,” he said.
Gupta said that in a study on major illnesses faced by Indian men, it was found that diarrhea was the most common ailment. “This can be easily treated by any general practitioner.”
But in India, very few MBBS doctors go on to be general practitioners.
Noted liver specialist S.K. Sarin of the Institute of Liver and Billiary Sciences of the capital said that there were not many good general practitioners in the country as of now.
“Specialists take on a lot of work which a good general physician can do,” he said.
He recalled MBBS doctors of earlier days when a patient had full confidence in his or her family physician which they consulted for all ailments.