The the government's new in-service postgraduate admission policy has left the Punjab Civil Medial Service (PCMS) doctors at the receiving end.
Only seven doctors who served the health department for the requisite period of service in rural area are eligible for seats in the in-service quota of 70. The PCMS Association of Punjab has opposed the policy.
In July last year, the state government changed the policy for serving doctors to use the quota. To be eligible for 60% in-service reservation of seats in government medical colleges, MBBS doctors posted in "difficult rural areas" need to serve for six years instead of three, while those serving in "very difficult rural areas" need to log four years of work instead of two.
After 1998, it was in 2008 and 2009 that the state health department recruited the MBBS doctors. Under the old policy, they would have become eligible last year and this year, respectively. Under the new policy however, none from these batches fulfils the criteria. That leaves only seven eligible PCMS doctors against 70 postgraduate seats and they were also recruited in the 1990s.
Since most seats go to doctors who earlier served as rural medical officers (RMOs) and later joined the PCMS, the government has decided to count their service as RMO as well for the admission. The PCMS Association said it was bound to happen. "The situation is manufactured by those who made this policy," said Dr Gagandeep Shergill, general secretary of the body. "The candidates who didn't work in the PCMS are getting the benefit.This what we predicted long ago."Vini Mahajan, state's principal secretary of health, was sought for comments on the matter. Since these doctors have joined the PCMS now, they belong to the health department," she said.
"There is no distinction. The decision count the past service of the RMOs was taken at the chief secretary level," she added.