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I know the pain of students and their demands: Maharashtra medical education minister Jitendra Awhad

Friday, 30 May 2014 - 4:21am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Ahead of the state assembly elections, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday announced a new minister in the Maharashtra cabinet, in the form of state unit's working president Jitendra Awhad. The new state medical education minister, who says he is a student-oriented minister, speaks to dna on how he will try to solve all problems currently being faced by medical students.

The state minister also said that he will try to ensure that patient-doctors clashes reduce, by introducing a special orientation programme for medical students through the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences for all medical colleges in the state. These programmes will focus on doctors' communication skills.

Q and A
DNA: What is your agenda on priority for department?
Minister: I was working in the student movement, so I know the pain of students and their demands. I will focus on their health and that they should get all the facilities that they deserve. All civic and state-run medical colleges' hostel and library should be in good shape. Resident doctors should work in a good environment. This is the future generation and we need to focus on them in their learning stage.

DNA: There have been instances of doctors being attacked by patients' relatives. How do you plan to solve this problem?
Minister: To avoid patient relatives and doctor's clashes, we will have experts who will teach undergraduate and post-graduate students on how to build a relationship with patients. Communication skills have major roles to play in developing patient-doctors' relationships. With the help of our medical university, we will introduce an orientation programme for all medical students, where they will acquire such knowledge.

DNA: What about JJ hospital super speciality department building project costing Rs 600 crore?
Minister: This project has already started, whereas the main building work will commence in the month of December. The hospital management had floated tenders for demolishing two structures, in whose place the tower was to be built at an estimated cost of Rs600 crore. It was supposed to house a super-specialty hospital in it. We create a specialised department like neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, urology and plastic surgery.

DNA: What about research work?
Minister: Soon, I am going to take the meeting of all medical college deans and will pass the instruction to focus on research work. There are lots of schemes in the central government, which will finance research projects and definitely encourage students and doctors to create a special research wing in the department. For this, a nodal officer will be appointed.

DNA: Several posts are vacant in medical colleges?
Minister: This is a long-pending issue and we are trying to fill up these posts. I have to take the review of the department and figure out ways to do so. There are some good doctors who are masters in their subjects. Should they want to join hospitals on an honorary basis, we will definitely try to accommodate the same in our system, with the consultation of our medical college dean.

DNA: What about patient treatment?
Minister: All poor patients should get proper treatment in our medical colleges and hospitals. Also, we have an existing government scheme for poor patients, which will be implemented rigorously.

DNA: There is some medical college recognition pending?
Minister: We already planned four medical colleges in different parts of the state and to get the recognition from Medical Council of India, work is going on.

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