Faced with a huge shortage of doctors in rural health care in Bengal, the government is mulling a proposal wherein medical practitioners must join district hospitals or block primary health centres (BPHCs) if they want admission to postgraduate MD and MS courses.
In fact, doctors will have to sign a bond in this regard before they appear for the MD/MS entrance examination.
State chief secretary Sanjay Mitra discussed the issue at a meeting with Satish Tiwari, principal secretary in charge of health, professor Susanta Banerjee, director of medical education, and director of health services Dr BR Satpathi at Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday.
“Primary health care services are reeling under an acute shortage of medical practitioners. We have a plan to send doctors to the rural health care services for at least one year after completion of their MD and MS courses. But they’ll have to sign a bond before appearing for the entrance exams for the courses. It’ll be mandatory for all of them each year. We discussed the issue with the health secretary today,” Banerjee told HT. “We’re exploring all the pros and cons of the move, which will be implemented next year if the government approves it,” he added.
Existing rules say MBBS doctors who join the government health care services must spend the first 6 years of their service in rural hospitals or BPHCs. They will be allowed to join the MD and MS courses only if they complete at least the first three years in the primary health care services.
A health department official said the government was yet to recruit doctors in permanent posts since it came to power in May 2011. Only several hundred fresh MBBS doctors have been recruited as medical officers on an ad hoc basis. Each ad hoc doctor gets R40,000 each month without any additional benefits.