The state health department's efforts to attract medical officers (specialists) in the field of psychiatry from outside the state have failed to yield much positive outcome as only three candidates were interviewed and selected in New Delhi on Saturday.
The department had received only five applications in response to a public notice for filling the posts of 15 medical officers.
Of the five applicants, only three turned up for the interview and they were selected by health department officials for the job.
Of these, one each is from Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and Punjab.
Confirming this, state health director Karanjit Singh said, "We received only five applications till August 1. Of these, only three turned up and were selected for the job on Saturday at Kapurthala House in New Delhi."
First, the health department had announced July 24 as the last date for submission of applications for interviews but after getting a tepid response, it extended the date till August 1, a day before the interview.
In a move to make the drug de-addiction drive successful in the state, the health department (on July 10) on directions of the government had invited applications from outside Punjab for the first time and decided to hold interviews.
The de-addiction drive was facing hiccups as the department has only 34 psychiatrists on its rolls while there is not even a single psychiatrist at several government hospitals in the state.
The department has 157 posts of psychiatrists and related experts.
A senior health official said the department had received a tepid response to its earlier advertisements for the recruitment of medical specialists due to which they proposed to hold the interviews in New Delhi rather than in Chandigarh.
He maintained that the government did not offer good remunerations and incentives to doctors who spend lakhs on their courses. Moreover, specialist doctors prefer private jobs rather to working in government hospitals.
The health department had decided to recruit fresh staff for running the well-equipped 50-bedded drug de-addiction centres coming up in Jalandhar and Bathinda in December.
The official further said the government had also sanctioned two more 50-bedded drug de-addiction centres which will be constructed at Patiala and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.
The government had also decided to make 22 special rehabilitation centres— one in every district— where patients would be admitted after detoxification at drug de-addiction centres, he added.