GUWAHATI, March 19 - Public sector health services, particularly medical education in Assam may face serious problems in the days to come as a number of senior doctors of the medical colleges of the State have applied for voluntary retirement, while, several others have offered to resign from their posts.
The medical colleges of the State are already facing shortage of faculty and it will be difficult for the government to find adequate number of qualified faculty for the new medical colleges proposed to be set up within the next few years.
The Assam Tribune spoke to a number of doctors of the medical colleges on the issue and found that in majority of the cases, wrong policies of the Government led to present state of affairs, which forced a number of senior doctors to seek voluntary retirement. One needs 20 years of service to apply for voluntary retirement and several senior doctors cited �health ground� to apply for it. But even doctors with only a few years of service have tendered resignation and some are planning to do so.
It is a fact that the boom in the private sector health services may be one of the reasons for a few young doctors to resign from Government services. A number of major private hospitals have come up in Guwahati and they are offering higher pay package to the doctors, which prompted a few young and qualified doctors to opt for the private sector. On the other hand, some doctors are also planning to go outside to work in private hospitals.
But even those who are interested in staying in the academic line are disillusioned with the present state of affairs, which is a dangerous trend for not only public sector health services in the State but also for medical education.
One of the common grievance of majority of the teachers of the medical colleges is that the Government does not have a transparent transfer and posting policy and it is believed by most doctors, with whom this newspaper spoke to is that one has to be in good books of �Dispur� to get good posting. There are instances where doctors served in same medical colleges for years, while, some others are frequently transferred, more so during the inspections of the colleges by the Medical Council of India. The promotion board meetings should be held at least twice a year, but that is not done and due recognition is not given to research work or presentation of papers in national and international level seminars. Moreover, the State Government seldom allows special leave or financial incentive to the doctors to attend and present papers in national and international seminars, which is given to the doctors working in the Medical colleges under the Central Government.
Another major grievance of the senior doctors posted in Barpeta, Tezpur and Jorhat medical colleges is that doctors with same qualification are teaching post graduate students in Gauhati, Silchar and Assam Medical Colleges while, they have to teach only the undergraduate students. This affects their academic careers in the long run. �When one wants to attend and present papers in national and international seminars, he or she will not get same recognition like the doctors who are teaching post graduate students,� one of the doctors said. Accommodation is also a major problem for the doctors posted in the new medical colleges and it is also a fact that some doctors have their private practices and they do not want to be shifted around.
To do away with these issues, the Government must come up with a clear cut transfer and posting policy instead of adopting a pick and choose policy, which is now being followed, while, adequate facilities should be given for research work. Due recognition must also be given for research and presentation of papers in national and international seminars to make services in the medical colleges attractive for the doctors who are keen on staying in the academic line.