It is expected that the approval of the Medical Council of India can be secured for two new medical colleges in the State — at Tiruvarur and Villupuram — for the academic year 2010-11, Principal Secretary, Health, V.K. Subburaj has said.

Speaking at Tancare 2010, organised by FICCI, on Saturday, Mr. Subburaj explained there was a need to create a number of institutions to train medical personnel in order to meet the demand for health professionals. Tamil Nadu, in an attempt to address this issue, has been steadily increasing the number of medical colleges, to work at the goal of one medical college per district. Apart from Tiruvarur and Villupuram, plans are afoot to start two other medical colleges in Sivaganga and Perambalur districts in the next phase.

The State had spent over Rs.1,200 crore in the last three years specifically for buildings in medical colleges, district and taluk hospitals. Over Rs.500 crore had been spent in equipping the hospitals with latest equipment, Mr. Subburaj added. Some of the progress was due to collaborations with the private sector, he said, adding that the hard work was evident in the increased number of patients to government hospitals.

Earlier, he handed over the FICCI Award for Lifetime Achievement to S.S. Badrinath, Chairman-Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya, and FICCI’s Award for Best Managed Hospital in a tier 2 city to P. Ilango, Joint Director-Health, Government Headquarters Hospital, Namakkal.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Badrinath said a complete redrafting of the medical education sector was in order. He also applauded the Chief Minister’s Insurance Scheme for being able to help people of all economic groups avail good care at the best institutions.

Dr. Ilango listed the measures that went into turning around the Namakkal Hospital from a place patients were ashamed to visit to its current standard of excellence.

M. Rafeeque Ahmed, chairman, FICCI, Tamil Nadu State Council, said while the State had made significant progress in healthcare over the last decade, quality, equity and access continued to be challenges.

G.S.K. Velu, Convenor, Healthcare Panel, FICCI, TNSC, said Tamil Nadu was the top State in terms of healthcare delivery. . An exhibition on healthcare was inaugurated.