The recent transfers of specialist doctors in Punjab have treated all doctors alike, without caring for the influence some of them wielded.
Even the relatives of VIPs and well-connected people were not spared.
Once considered sacrosanct, SAS Nagar district would earlier hardly see any transfers, but not this time as a total of 27 doctors were transferred in the district.
The health department had transferred 523 specialist doctors on Tuesday to facilitate upgrade of 100 hospitals in the state. The hospitals are being upgraded with a view to providing round-the-clock health care facilities to people.
According to the transfer list, of the 27 doctors transferred in SAS Nagar district, 13 have been shifted out of the district.
SAS Nagar is the most sought-after district when it comes to doctors' postings. Most of the doctors who were till now posted in this district were well connected and had used their influence for getting the postings.
Though most of the doctors from SAS Nagar have been transferred to adjoining districts Rupnagar and Fatehgarh Sahib, some of them have been transferred to far-off districts like Faridkot and Sangrur.
After SAS Nagar, the district hospital and the primary health centres in Ludhiana city are most sought after. Like SAS Nagar, here also, most of those posted earlier had considerable influence. However, in the current transfers, around 20 doctors have been transferred from these places. Similar is the situation in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala districts.
Sources in the health department said the possibility of rolling back these transfers was remote as there were directions from the chief minister's office not to entertain any such requests.
The decision is also likely to hit those specialist doctors who do private practice besides doing the government job. A significant number of doctors who have been transferred include those who are running private hospitals besides doing the government job.
Doctors threaten statewide stir
The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has threatened a statewide stir against the state government's recent decision of transferring 523 specialist doctors.
In a press release, Dr RS Buttar, patron of the association, said the government move aimed at crippling the state health services and feeding the private sector.
Terming the transfer drive as ill-conceived, the association said it would render 50 health centres in rural areas defunct. He claimed that these centres were earlier upgraded with a loan from the World Bank. Dr Buttar called for an immediate stay on the transfers.
He said the state already had a shortage of specialists and the recent transfers would further demoralise the doctors and many would leave the job.
Dr Gagandeep Shergill, general secretary of the association, called the decision unfair, saying no heed had been paid to cases of married couples.
The transfers also did not adhere to the transfer policy. He claimed that during an earlier meeting with the association, principal secretary health Vini Mahajan had promised that the association would be consulted before the transfers. But the association was betrayed by the government," he said.
The association has called for an extended state body meeting in Ludhiana on Friday. The meeting will be attended by all district-level office-bearers of the association.