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174 doctors across Assam quit government jobs in last 5 years

By The Assam Tribune
174 doctors across Assam quit government jobs in last 5 years

Guwahati, July 9: Contrary to the massive infrastructure development being carried out across Assam for the development of the health sector, the exodus of a significant number of physicians from the government sector in the last five years has raised many eyebrows.

At a time when over 700 posts of doctors under the state government are lying vacant, altogether 174 physicians have either taken voluntary retirement or have quit the government sector for various reasons in the last five years.

According to data available with the state health department between January 2019 and May 2024, altogether 98 doctors opted for voluntary retirement. Also, in the last five years, 76 doctors have resigned from the service.

Under the voluntary retirement scheme, 21 doctors working in different parts of the state have opted to quit their government jobs in 2019, nine doctors in 2020, 34 doctors in 2021, 15 doctors in 2022, and 19 doctors during the period from January 2023 to May 2024.

Similarly, eight doctors resigned from the service in 2020, seven doctors in 2021, 24 doctors in 2022, 31 doctors in 2023, and six doctors in the first five months of 2024.

As per data available with the Assam Medical Service Association (AMSA), more than 700 posts of doctors are lying vacant in the government sector in Assam at present.

Health department sources informed that among the factors that pushed doctors in Assam to quit were high work pressure and lucrative offers from the private sector, among others. Some also do not want to continue in government service as it is a transferable job.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, a functionary of the Assam Medical Service Association (AMSA) informed that the workload of government doctors has increased manifold in recent times. However, salaries have not increased, while the same doctor can earn more money by shouldering the same workload in private practice.

“The pay scale of the doctors must be revised. The present salary structure in the government sector is not attractive enough, and as there is scope to earn more in the private sector, many new generation doctors don’t want to join or continue in the government sector,” the office-bearer said.

He also pointed out that many senior doctors in Assam have opted for voluntary retirement in recent times as it is not possible for them to continue the practice up to 65 years, which is the retirement age of government doctors in the state.

“Senior doctors are also facing lots of challenges in performing their duties due to a lack of proper administrative knowledge.”

“Earlier, the Chief Minister had strictly instructed the NHM authority to provide administrative training to doctors, but the order is yet to be executed properly. On the other hand, many doctors have had to face rude and insulting behavior from senior officials of the department on numerous occasions. This is also a reason why many senior doctors are not happy with their jobs,” he said.

Working the night shifts is also not possible for many senior doctors. So with no option in hand, many senior doctors have opted to resign from service, the AMSA office-bearer said.

-By Manash Pratim Dutta

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