The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Haryana health department, seeking an explanation on the number of posts vacant in the state’s health facilities. The commission has asked the department to furnish a reply within six weeks.
“We have received the notice and are working on it. The state has vacant posts in every category and we are trying to fill them up,” said Narender Arora, director general for health, Haryana.
According to the Haryana Civil Medical Services Association (HCMSA), the state has a total of 3,000 doctors’ post but about 1,000 posts are vacant. Out of the 2,000 who are working, 200-300 doctors have been absent from duty for unknown reasons for as long as two years. The Gurgaon Civil Hospital has also been facing severe staff crunch with the posts of radiologist and physician remaining vacant since early this year.
“It is easy to fill the Class 4 vacancies as these services are outsourced and are on contract basis. On the contrary, it is very difficult to fill the posts of doctors and specialists. We have issued 150 appointment letters recently, let us see when they join,” added Arora.
On the other hand, the HCMSA has said poor service condition in the state health department triggers attrition. In 50% of the cases, doctors don’t get a promotion. Even if they do, they just promoted once in a lifetime. In addition, a doctor gets no salary hike. His career is stagnant but work load increases as he is forced to work for extra hours because of staff crunch.
“Unlike in the Centre or in other states, doctors in Haryana get appraisals after four, nine, 13 and 20 years of service. About 150 doctors from Haryana shifted to Punjab two years ago, when the latter advertised about vacancies,” said Kuldeep Singh, president of the HCMSA.
Singh said that nearly 500 doctors have submitted their resignations for starting private practice. “On papers, these doctors are still on the government payroll as the state health department has not accepted their resignation. But the doctors have left almost a year ago and have started practising on their own,” he added.
In June this year, doctors across the state had threatened to go on a strike after the government put a cap on their allowances, reducing their salary up to Rs 10,000 per month. Soon, the order was withdrawn with the intervention of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.