Senior doctors say medicos are indulging in misinformation campaign against the rural service

While the striking junior doctors and authorities are caught in an impasse over the mandatory rural service, questions have now risen over the commitment of medicos towards the concept.

Senior doctors, who once were part of the committee that was set-up to frame guidelines for mandatory rural service, feel that the junior doctors are simply trying to be evasive about the rural service.

The medicos, while maintaining they are not against such a rural service, assert that they will be reduced to ‘white elephants’ if posted to villages. “What is the use if a dermatology specialist like me is asked to attend to pregnancies in rural areas? What is the logic in appointing a highly qualified radiologist in a PHC that does not have an ultrasound?” a medico, on condition of anonymity, argues.

Senior doctors, however, rubbish such arguments. “Nobody is going to post a specialist in a PHC, which are meant only for MBBS doctors.

They will be posted to a relatively well-developed Community Health Centre (CHC) or Area Hospitals where already five to six doctors are working. The junior doctors will simply be part of a team of doctors, who are already braving the odds in districts and that too for just one year,” clarifies Superintendent of Gandhi Hospital, Dr. S. Mahaboob, who was a member of the committee.

Heavy expenditure

Senior doctors also said that the medicos are indulging in misinformation campaign against the rural service. “They are simply trying to avoid working in rural areas for one year by raising issues on guidelines. The government is spending close to Rs. 35 lakh on a MBBS student and nearly Rs. 1 crore on a PG student. The cost of same PG seats in private colleges is between Rs. 1.5 and Rs. 2 crore,” Dr. Mahaboob pointed out.

The medicos have also raised issues on disparity in the rural service. “During the mandatory rural service, we have to work under a medical officer who has just an MBBS degree. The salary of this medical officer is Rs. 32,000 whereas we will get only Rs. 20,000 for a month,” a PG student tried to reason out.

Dr. Mahaboob counters: “Medicos will have to work just for a year and they are not on government rolls. It’s unfortunate that they are comparing themselves with doctors working in districts for a long time.”

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