A tug of war over the mandatory service breaks out between medicos and health officials. Health officials have collected the certificates from medicos to ensure that the one-year bond the doctors have undertaken to work in rural areas is fulfilled.

A tug of war over mandatory one-year rural service has broken out between medicos and health officials. The doctors, who have completed post graduation, want the government to make rural service ‘voluntary’ and not ‘mandatory’. But authorities have been quite resolute in maintaining that degree certificates would be issued only when medicos complete the one-year mandatory rural service.

Since 2012, when mandatory service was implemented in the State, the issue has remained controversial and has seen a lot of bickering back and forth between both sides. Meanwhile, two batches of medicos have already completed one year rural service in villages.

However, the dust is far from settled as every year, after completion of final year PG exams, fresh batch of PG doctors start approaching courts for respite from rural service. This year too is no different with several approaching the High Court challenging the decision of authorities to withhold the release of certificates.

Health officials have collected the certificates from medicos to ensure that the one-year bond the doctors have undertaken to work in rural areas is fulfilled. Understandably, the authorities have fears that they would not be able to enforce the bond if they release the certificates as they would not have any leverage over MBBS, PG and super-speciality doctors.

To doubly ensure the bond was respected, last year, the government had passed an amendment bill to the A.P. Medical Practitioners’ Registration Act, (APMPR), 1968 making it mandatory for all freshly minted doctors to serve in rural areas for a year before getting the license to practice medicine.

On their part, the medicos allege the bond is ‘unethical’. Many also took legal recourse and efforts are on to challenge the amendment bill of APMPR and the bond. Even the decision to withhold degree certificates was challenged. “The HC has directed the government to release degree certificates, but these were given only to the petitioners and not to all. It’s contempt and we are approaching the court again,” the Junior Doctors’ Association (JUDA) maintain.

On Tuesday, a group of doctors who have completed PG approached Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr. G. Shantaram demanding release of their certificates. So did Gandhi Hospital medicos who approached principal, Gandhi Medical College, Dr. Ashok Kumar, seeking release of degree certificates.

“We have decided to issue certificates to the five petitioners based on the advice of our advocates. We have nothing more to add to the subject,” maintained Dr. Shantaram.

More In: Hyderabad