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Cooper Hospital medical college gets govt all-clear

The city will finally get a new medical college after five decades, which will add 150 affordable MBBS seats to the current pool of 2,500. The Union health ministry on Monday gave BMC its nod to start the college in Juhu from this academic year itself.

It will be the first municipal medical institute in the suburbs. The last civic medical college to come up in the city was at Sion Hospital in 1964.

The college has been tentatively named Hindu Hriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray College. It will be attached to the existing 640-bedded R N Cooper Hospital in Juhu where a swanky structure has already been built. After three rounds of inspection, Medical Council of India (MCI) had submitted a positive recommendation to the Union health ministry last week.

As many as 1.9 lakh aspirants compete for a handful of 2,500 seats across 18 public medical colleges in the state.

"It is a feather in BMC's cap and a much-needed addition to affordable medical education in the public set-up. The approval has come through after months of rigorous work by officials as well as medical teachers," said Dr Suhasini Nagda, director of medical education and major hospitals.

The civic body hopes that the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, which carries out admissions across the state's public medical colleges, will incorporate the 150 seats in the first round of admissions that begin in July.

"We are hopeful that students can opt for the new medical college from the very first round. If not, we have requested them to consider us in the second round of admissions," added Nagda. Classes are expected to start from the first week of September.

Around 54 teachers have already been mobilized from the other three BMC-run medical colleges—KEM, Sion and Nair —and posted to the new medical college. Around 18 more posts of assistant professors have been created for which advertisements are out. The college will initially have 21 departments.

A senior official said the college will be a ground-plus-five structure. Four floors have already been built. "Since we have additional FSI, an extra floor is also likely."

Civic officials claim that barring the requirement of 25 acres, MCI did not allow any liberties to the civic medical college. "They had stringent criteria that have all been met. The library, laboratories, classrooms and separate rooms for HODs have all been built. Cooper hospital has an overall area of 10 acres," said Nagda.

Dr Ramesh Chaturvedi, the in-charge dean, said it will tremendously boost affordable healthcare in the suburbs that have to rely on private hospitals.

As students reach the third year, Jogeshwari's Trauma Hospital's bed strength will also be added to meet MCI criteria of 750 beds for 150 seats. Currently Cooper has only 640, added Nagda

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