Sunday, 9 October 2016

Where is the equity and equality? Why only we, the medical professionals, have to follow it?

Where is the equity and equality? Why only we, the medical professionals, have to follow it? Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, in his public address on 26th May, 2016 at Saharanpur, announced extension of retirement age of Government Doctors from 60 years to 65 years to meet the shortfall of doctors in Government Hospitals. Subsequently, Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi issued an Office Order No.A.12034/1/2014-CHS-V dated 31st May, 2016, stating that the President is pleased to enhance the age of superannuation of the specialists of Non-Teaching and Public Health sub-cadres of Central Health Service (CHS) and General Duty Medical Officers of CHS to 65 years with immediate effect. In consequent of the above, Railways, CAPF (Central Armed Police Force) as well as Provincial Medical & Health Services in Assam and Delhi also issued similar orders. From the intent of Prime Minister’s address, it is clear that the spirit behind the address and the decision was that the step has been taken to cover the shortage of the doctors in the country. Today, India needs twice the number of doctors, three times the number of nurses and four times the number of paramedics. The Medical Council of India (MCI) has also taken a decision to allow opening of a medical college linked to every district hospitals in the country. Unfortunately, in India everything is decided by full stop or comma in the bureaucratic system. It was expected that the extension of the retirement age of doctors from 60 to 65 years would be automatic but the same is not true. For example, doctors working in Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), in spite of their representation for clarification are still out of the ambit of Prime Minister’s decision. Over 150 CPSEs are directly under the administrative control of Government of India through their respective ministries. Therefore, it was expected that this decision of the Prime Minister would automatically be implementable on them also. Their exclusion from this decision of the Prime Minister will affect approximately 3,000 doctors of CPSEs who manage over 10,000 beds spread all over the country. We, at Indian Medical Association (IMA) feel that this announcement by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India should automatically be applicable pan India to doctors working in Centre, State, CPSEs, Private Hospitals or any other area. Shortage of doctors is universal and not segment wise. It is important that equity, equality and justice should prevail in any health care decision. In fact, there is no retirement age for doctors. All doctors after retirement from government sector enter into private practice and carry on their active work till they are physically or mentally incapable of doing the same. The retirement age can only be for the purpose of administration but not clinical practice. One may be allowed to retire from an administrative post but allowed to continue to serve in clinical areas. Will someone from amongst us take up this cause in the interest of the medical profession?

1 comment:

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