Reacting to recent news reports about the inspection of doctors by junior revenue officials, Punjab health minister Surjit Kumar Jyani said no junior official would be allowed to inspect doctors. The minister also said that he would mark an inquiry into the incident.
On Saturday, Jaswant Singh, posted as tehsildar at Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar district, had conducted an inspection at a local hospital. Doctors had raised an objection, saying that they, being Class-1 officers, were senior to the tehsildar (a Class-2 officer). The tehsildar claimed that he had orders from the subdivisional magistrate (SDM) in this regard.
Some newspapers had published pictures of the tehsilar sitting on the senior medical officer’s (SMO) chair, while the doctors were standing.
Following the incident, health workers from across the district staged a protest against the inspection on Tuesday.
Talking to Hindustan Times, the minister said he won’t tolerate humiliation of doctors by junior officials such as a tehsildar.
Jyani said the government wanted to provide better healthcare services to people of the state, for which certain checks and balances were required, but it didn’t mean that anybody could be given the licence to humiliate the doctors or any health department official.
The minister said he would issue a circular very soon so that no official below the rank of the SDM would be allowed to conduct inspections in hospitals. “I will also conduct an inquiry, particularly into the Chamkaur Sahib incident. Who allowed the tehsildar to sit on the SMO’s chair? Can he also sit on the deputy commissioner’s chair?” Jyani asked.
The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Doctors’ Association has already condemned the tehsildar’s action. The body had alleged that the tehsildar wasted around two hours of the hospital staff, which was meant for patients, due to which the entire work of the hospital came to a standstill following the early-morning inspection.