Ten days after issuing a controversial order that only women gynaecologist and staff should treat women patients, the state health department on Monday withdrew the order. The order drew severe criticism from doctors in the state and was rolled back after the local media highlighted the issue.
On July 8 the additional director of medical and health services (hospital administration), had issued an order to all chief medical and health officers and principal medical officers across Rajasthan that woman patients with gynaecological problems should be checked and treated as far as possible only by lady gynaecologist or staff.
“The order has sent wrong message among the doctors fraternity. Many renowned gynaecologists in the country and even across the world are male. Practically, it is not possible that only women gynaecologists can attend or treat female patients with gynaecological or related problems,” Indian Medical Association (IMA) national president Dr SS Agarwal told HT.
Meanwhile, additional director (hospital administration) Dr RS Chhipi clarified that the order was issued “on the directions of the chief minister’s office, but has been cancelled.”
Insisting that the order was misinterpreted, director (public health) Dr BR Meena said the order was issued with good intentions. “Many women patients with gynaecological problems do not feel comfortable being checked or treated by male gynaecologists or staff. The order sought to address the issue.”
He added the order also did not say that male gynaecologists or staff could not treat women. “It clearly mentioned that lady doctors or staff, as far as possible, should check the female patients. It was wrongly presented that if the order came into force only lady doctors could check female patients,” he said.