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The Indian Express
07 July 2013
New Delhi, India.

In a first, the Health Ministry has laid down minimum work standards for faculty members in medical institutes like AIIMS, PGIMER and JIPMER. The move comes in the wake of falling research standards in top medical institutes.

The fresh norms also include the number of papers that need to be published to be eligible for the next promotion. Assistant professors must have published at least three papers in Pubmed indexed journals, associate professors three–four papers, additional professors five–seven papers and professors 5–10 papers in the assessment period.

Currently, publishing medical papers is a criterion at the time of recruitment in these institutes. But once a faculty member, he or she may spend the entire tenure without any publications and it would not affect the job growth.

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The new rules say faculty members undertaking assignments outside the institute won't be eligible for assessment promotion scheme unless they complete the requisite years of service at their present level. The issue has been affecting AIIMS, where senior faculty members spend years on international assignments while remaining on the rolls of the institute.

The guidelines will have to be ratified by the governing bodies of the institutes as all of them are autonomous. But since it has been prepared after consulting the institutes and is based on the 2011 report of the committee headed by Dr Sneha Bhargava, former director of AIIMS, officials in the ministry are confident that the guidelines will be adopted.

The new norms outline in detail the time a doctor must spend on patient care, research and corporate activities. Not more than 10 per cent of time can be devoted to corporate activities that include serving various national, international and academic panels.

Those belonging to basic sciences departments like anatomy, physiology and biochemistry will have to give 45 per cent of the time each for teaching and research. All other departments would have to give 30 per cent time each to teaching, patient care/service delivery and research. However, for clinical departments like gynaecology and radiotherapy, the research standards come with the rider "if optimum conditions are provided" though elsewhere the document talks about "25–30% captive time for research".

"Every institution would set up departmental collegiums comprising the HoD and the next two senior-most faculty members in the department for apportioning time for patient care services by individual faculty...," reads the memorandum.

Hospitals would have to computerise patient care records and administrative processes. The e–hospital and e–office modules being implemented by AIIMS could be considered by other institutes. They will also have to fill up all sanctioned and vacant faculty posts.

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