The graduation ceremony of the College of Nursing, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, was held on Thursday. Former Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Sujatha Rao told the gathering that with a view to standardising training of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, the Health Ministry was planning to establish an autonomous body – National Commission for Human Resources for Health.

“This body has been envisaged to not only bring together on one platform all disciplines of medical practice and science but also have standards and norms that are enforced throughout the country,” she said.

“We are yet to fully internalise the nursing profession into medical care and develop the concept of team work as a core element of institutional care. With hospitals driven by technology, care should be multidisciplinary and by teams of doctors, nurses and technicians working as a team with shared responsibility,” Ms. Rao said.

She pointed out that there was shortage of nurses in the country. According to estimates, there was a requirement of 10 lakh nurses, against which the country has about half. “We need an estimated 10,000 faculty to work in the institutions to bridge this demand,” she added.

The Union government has allocated a substantial budget of Rs. 3,000 crore during the current plan to expand nurse training. “A total of 265 schools of nursing are being established with 85 per cent financial assistance from the Centre in those districts which have no nursing school resulting in huge shortage of nurses,” she said.

The tragedy was that the best trained nurses went abroad and were not available here. The only way to solve the problem was by producing nurses in large numbers.