6 doctors spend 3 days a week practising at a Punnapra hospital

Six doctors of the Ernakulam Medical College spend at least three days a week practising at a hospital in Punnapra, about 80 km from Kalamassery.

Sagara Hospital, nurtured as the satellite centre of the Cochin Medical College under the Cooperative Academy of Professional Education (CAPE), gets its experts from the medical college here. Though a few doctors who did not want to go to Punnapra after the government took over the medical college here resist the practice, CAPE continues to hold sway as they are the paymasters of the staff here and at Sagara.

Many had complained that this shuttling affected the daily functioning of the medical college and the hospital.

Some of the professors working in the medical college for years believe the downfall of the medical college started with the satellite centre coming up in 2009-10. One, because it was located far off to be functioning as a satellite centre, and two, the college itself was yet to grow to its full potential. The hospital is physically closer to the Alappuzha Medical College.

Some even allege that equipment worth Rs. 28 crore bought for the medical college was sent to this satellite centre where a cardiology block has been set up.

Though it is the prerogative of CAPE to decide where to send new equipment, the medical college was allegedly overlooked for its need for doctors and equipment, allege the professors. The college is yet to have a proper superspecialty. Departments like cardiology, neurology and nephrology make do with visiting experts.

The Sagara Hospital is a 40-bed hospital that has an independent strength of about 6 doctors, while six doctors from the medical college take the total strength to 12.

It is also alleged that most of the doctors in the medical college continue with their private practice. However, Jacob Baby, the president of the Cochin Medical College Teachers’ Association, said CAPE had allowed them private practice even when private practice for medical college teachers was banned. This was because CAPE was not ready to pay non-practising allowance.

As the staff is yet to be integrated with the government, the private practice continues. Besides, the private practice was bringing in more patients to the medical college and CAPE did not want to stop that, said another professor.

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