Doctors at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, have opposed the institute’s move to stop its doctors from attending international conferences at the expense of pharmaceutical companies.
PGI director Dr YK Chawla had issued a circular saying that the doctors who claimed to attend the conferences abroad on their personal expenses, must provide bank account details confirming that the money was paid from their own account.
However, the PGIMER Staff Council – a body of which all professors are members – has opposed the move in its meeting held last week.
Dean Dr Amod Gupta pushed this agenda and observed: “These recommendations should ideally have been discussed in the Staff Council.”
Dr Gupta’s letter to staff council reads, “The tone and tenor of the said clause does not seem to be appropriate. We simply need to take an undertaking/affidavit from the faculty member attending international conference(s) on personal costs to the effect he/she would be meeting the expenses whatsoever out of his/her personal savings.”
Significantly, the director had issued a circular on the recommendations of a committee constituted under the chairmanship of one of the senior-most professors Dr SK Jindal, who also heads the pulmonary medicine department.
When contacted Dr Jindal said that his report was aimed to bring more transparency in the process of foreign visits of the PGIMER doctors. He refused to comment on the Staff Council’s agenda.
Gupta’s circular had read: “If a faculty member claims that he/she is going for international conference on personal expenses then he/she should submit an undertaking to that effect clearly disclosing the matching personal source(s) before going to the conference Additionally, after returning from the conference he/she shall submit the proof that the expenses or air travel were met from his/her bank account.
He/she should also disclose the source of the expenditure of registration and accommodation. Further, the faculty member should submit a report of his participation in the conference along with expenditure statement to the dean’s office.”
It is common knowledge that international conferences for a large number of PGIMER doctors ends up being a junket.