Deans of government medical colleges across the State have started keeping tabs on ‘in' and ‘out' times of all staff. Biometric system to be implemented soon, said the Health Secretary.

Since three professors of the Vellore Medical College and Hospital were suspended for leaving the college without permission, Deans of government medical colleges across the State have started keeping tabs on ‘in' and ‘out' times of all staff.

“We have instructed all the Deans to monitor the arrival and departure of all staff, especially those who teach at the college,” Principal Secretary, Health, V.K. Subburaj told The Hindu.

While he admitted that doctors leaving early for private practice could be an issue at any Government Hospital, he added that it was more likely in Government colleges closer to Chennai – Chengalpet, Kancheepuram and Vellore.

Counselling for posting

During counselling for posting, the doctors ask specifically to work in these colleges because of their proximity to the city and in their anxiety to get to Chennai for their practice, they leave the college early, without permission, he added.

“We are not saying that government doctors should not have their own practice. We want them to be in the hospitals for the period in which they are required to be there,” Mr. Subburaj added.

The biometric system of fingerprinting, already in place in Madurai Medical College for laboratory technicians and administrative staff, at the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society, and at primary health centres and taluk hospitals covered by the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project, would also be implemented soon in all medical colleges, he added.

This would not only provide arrival and departure times, but also serve to calculate over time and bring greater accountability to ‘on duty' periods.

All Deans have been asked to conduct meetings or go on rounds between noon and 1 p.m in the hospital and between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the college to ensure that the professors are indeed at their tasks, Director of Medical Education, M. Vinayagam explained.

The various medical colleges have also been asked to send monthly reports detailing the classes that each professor/assistant professor conducted and, surgeries done.

Dual attendance system

J. Mohanasundaram, Dean, Madras Medical College, said earlier the arrival time of doctors was being monitored, but now, the departure too is being noted.

In medical colleges, there is a dual attendance system in place. People sign in at the hospital and the college. The monitoring will ensure that the staffs are not tempted to leave earlier than they must.

“All this is not necessary if people realise their responsibility and act accordingly,” he added.

Dr. Mohanasundaram said the hospital was ready to implement the biometric system for attendance if the go ahead comes from the government.

Circular

V. Kanagasabai, Dean, Kilpauk and Salem Medical Colleges, said; “We have sent a circular to all staff to come on time and not leave early without permission. We have also started checking attendance meticulously. Another strategy is to call them on the landline to see if they are available within the department or classes. This will definitely discourage doctors from leaving before the time they should.”