The State Health and Family Welfare Department will suggest to the Cabinet subcommittee, set up to examine the main demand of the doctor’s strike (which ended on Tuesday) that the 10 district hospitals be delinked from medical colleges, to put in place common recruitment rules for autonomous institutions.
The suggestion will be made to the committee at Wednesday’s meeting, official sources in the department told The Hindu on Tuesday.
This is to ensure that the interests of the existing staff in the hospitals and the health department are protected.
This will also be in the interests of the doctors, paramedics and other staff, who were on strike, whose main grouse was loss of promotion opportunities, the sources said.
A top official said the demand to delink the hospitals involved several technical, administrative, academic and legal issues.
“The main grouse of government doctors’ is that they have lost all promotion opportunities beyond the taluk-level after these hospitals were attached to medical colleges. This can be addressed in several ways,” the official said.
The 10 hospitals were attached to the government medical colleges in Bangalore, Shimoga, Mysore, Hubli, Bellary, Belgaum, Mandya, Hassan, Raichur, Bidar and Belgaum after 2006. This was to fulfil Medical Council of India’s (MCI) norms that said all new colleges should have their own clinical facilities.
However, following this, colleges became autonomous bodies and made their own recruitments without following any Cadre and Recruitment (C and R) rules. Those already working in the hospitals were relieved and sent back to the Health Department. This has irked the doctors.
“We have the same qualifications as those appointed by the Medical Education department. Despite being eligible for promotions, most of us have to retire at the taluk-level itself. Why can’t the hospitals be under the administrative control of the health department itself while allowing the use of clinical facilities?” is the common question.
M. Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), admitted that the doctors’ aspiration to work in district hospitals, which is the highest promotion for them, is justified.
“However, the issue of whether delinking the hospitals will mean de-recognition of the colleges by MCI and whether it is possible to protect the interests of both the Health Department doctors and the existing staff in the colleges has to be examined.”
“We do not know how many times the committee will meet to decide on the issue. But the decision of the committee will be final, whatever it is,” he said.
Shortage of specialists
Stating that there was a shortage of 1,221 specialists in the existing district hospitals (run by the Health Department), Mr. Madan Gopal said: “It is a fact that the 10 district hospitals have helped us provide better services. But even if we take back the hospitals, where are the specialists to be recruited there?”