A doctors’ body of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneswar, has urged Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya not to rename the AIIMS centres across the country.

While the renaming has not been officially announced, a Union health ministry official had told The Hindu last month that the all 23 AIIMS centres will be renamed after freedom fighters, regional heroes, historical events, notable monuments or the distinct geographical identity of the areas where they are located.

The official said that most of the 23 facilities have submitted a list of names after the health ministry asked for suggestions.

In its letter dated Sunday, the Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS Bhubaneswar said that while the nationalistic sentiments behind the initiative should be appreciated, it does not want the names to be changed.

“The tag of ‘AIIMS’ denotes they are premiere tertiary health institutes at par with AIIMS Delhi,” the doctors’ body said. “They are epitomes of excellence in healthcare and health education, with standards strictly regulated by the government of India.”

Changing the names would lead to “loss of identity” among trainee doctors as well as deter those who aspire to become medical practitioners by choosing AIIMS to pursue their career, the Resident Doctors’ Association said in its letter.

The doctors’ body requested the health ministry to continue with the current format of naming the institute – “AIIMS” followed by the name of the city. It cited examples of centres of the Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management that are named using the same format.

Following the government proposal, Faculty Association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences Delhi had written to its members seeking the opinion of its members on this matter.

In its letter, the faculty body had said that if the identity of AIIMS is given up, its institutional recognition will be lost both within the country and outside.

Dr Achal Kumar Srivastava, the president of the association, had also said in the letter that since identity is linked with the name, famous and established institutes have the same names for centuries.

“The sense of identity is so strong, that Calcutta, Bombay and Madras Universities continue with the same name even though the cities they are located in have changed names to Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai,” the letter added, according to ANI.