The postings are being done every month
The State, always struggling with fewer doctors joining the Health Service, is bogged down further with about 500 doctors under compulsory rural service (CRS) abstaining from work.
And the onus on the medical officers gets further burdened when the quantity of work they have is much more, with both clinical practice and administrative work getting clubbed. In rural areas, healthcare institutions are sometimes running on just one medical officer.
The CRS introduced for the new doctors have not found favour with most of them, as many like to take up post-graduation and go in for specialised studies.
The CRS doctors are sent to various health institutions in the State through the National Rural Health Service in each district. M. Beena, State Mission director, NRHM, told The Hindu that some doctors who had been missing from work had reported after they got the notices issued by the NRHM. However, some of them, who have gone abroad, are likely to face action.
A bond of Rs. 5 lakh is executed for the CRS and the District Collectors will be given orders to recover the revenue if the service requirement is not met.
“Some doctors who have gone for post-graduation, and some who are on maternity leave, had approached us and their absence has been legalised,” said Dr. Beena.
The numbers of sanctioned posts are not enough to cater to the patients in most of the institutions. That is where the CRS doctors try to make up.
P. K. Jameela, director, Health Services, told The Hindu that about 25 per cent of doctors who are given appointment orders do not join the service. However, with more numbers of doctors available on the PSC list, postings are being done every month once the directorate gets the required number.
The numbers of vacancies in the general cadre in the assistant surgeon grade is the lowest ever, said Dr. Jameela. In Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Malappuram and Kozhikode, there are no vacancies in that grade, she added. However, there are several vacancies in the specialty cadres.
The most wanted list includes specialists in general medicine, general surgery, psychiatry and anaesthesiology.
The doctors aiming for post-graduation cannot be fully blamed for being absent or being irregular at work, said Dr. Jameela.
The highly competitive PG examinations require the doctors to fully concentrate on their theory and not the clinical experience, she added. Those who manage to get through the PG entrance get their CRS nullified, while others come back after six months.