At a time when the state is already reeling under acute shortage of medical teachers, doctors and other support staff like nurses and group D employees, chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants four new medical colleges in Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Rampurhat and Bhangar.
Though the number of medical college and hospitals has increased to 16 from 14 after two institutions were opened at Joka and Durgapur, there is still an acute shortage of about 2,000 doctors, including 500 teachers in the colleges.
Expressing grave concern over the acute shortage of doctors and teachers across the state, the director of medical education (DME), professor Susanta Banerjee, has recently sent a note to the secretary of the health department, Satish Tewari, proposing to extend the retirement age of teaching doctors to 65 from the existing 62.
“It will be very difficult to run the medical institutions if we don’t have adequate number of teachers and doctors.
A large number of teaching and nonteaching doctors in many departments like gynaecology, anaesthesiology, orthopaedics etc have retired from their services and most posts are still lying vacant,” Banerjee told HT.
“Our chief minister has decided to set up four new medical colleges. We need more doctors, especially, senior medical teachers. To meet the crisis, we have to extend the retirement age of the doctors. I have sent a note to the health secretary who will forward it to the chief minister, who holds the health portfolio, for her final consideration,” he added.
It was in 2008 when the previous Left Front government had extended the retirement age of teaching doctors to 62 from 60.
“We have a plan to extend the retirement age of teachers in medical institutions to 65 in order to meet the staff crisis. We may send a proposal in this regard to the government,” said a senior officer in the health department.
“Many states like Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand and others have already extended the age of retirement of medical teachers to 65. In private medical colleges, the retirement age is 70. Medical Council of India (MCI) has already given its nod in this regard. With an increase in MBBS seats in Bengal, we need adequate number of teachers in our medical colleges,” he added.
There is a shortfall of about 500 teachers starting from professors, associate professors and assistant professors required for MBBS and postgraduate MD and MS degrees in the state-run medical colleges.
According to statistics available with the health department, more than 500 posts of teachers in general medicine, general surgery, anatomy, radiology etc are lying vacant.
These posts will be filled up soon considering the classes for the first and second year undergraduate medical students.
The government has also decided to give re-employment to many retired medical teachers in different departments in order to meet the shortfall to some extent