Punjab health and family welfare minister Madan Mohan Mittal on Friday made it clear that strict action would be taken against government doctors found indulging in private practice.
"We would not spare doctors who remain absent from government duty to do private practice. However, if any doctor is wrongly implicated, we would not support such action," Mittal told mediapersons here.
He said instructions had been issued to civil surgeons of the state to check the menace (private practice by government doctors) and send reports to the health department for action against erring doctors, adding that he, too, would take action on complaints sent to him in this regard.
He blamed the media for "wrongly" projecting his views on sting operations conducted by Punjab chief parliamentary secretary, health, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu to catch doctors doing private practice. "The media has conveyed the wrong impression that I support such doctors and want to protect them," the minister said.
Mittal said he had appealed to government doctors to do their duty sincerely, adding that his appeal had yielded results. "I am happy that the attendance of doctors in government hospitals has improved after my appeal," he added.
He reiterated that it was the job of detective agencies, not politicians, to conduct sting operations.
Mittal criticised Dr Sidhu for being secretive about complaints against government doctors. "Dr Sidhu has said that she has received complaints against doctors doing private practice. However, she has neither sent these to me nor to the secretary of the department. It is not propriety on the part of any minister or official to keep complaints with himself or herself. They should discuss such complaints and forward these to the authorities concerned for action," Mittal said.
Earlier, the minister held a meeting with officials concerned in connection with Arogya Mela, to be organised by the health department at Anandpur Sahib from November 23 to 26.