It has been found that nearly 200 doctors practicing at primary hospitals and health care centres across the state as medical officers (MO) have been attending to patients, including accident and rape victims, despite having no official appointment letter.
This situation developed on September 30, when their contracts expired.
The state health department recruited these doctors on an ad hoc basis during August 2010. After assuming power, Mamata Banerjee met these Mos at Town Hall and promised to regularise their jobs in permanent posts.
“We have extended the ad hoc service of these doctors but we cannot recruit them in permanent service without the finance department’s approval,” said Dr BRS at pathi, director of healthservices.
Although Satpathi declined to admit it, it appears that the fates of the doctors are at the mercy of the finance department.
However, several doctors told HT that their services have not yet been extended by the government, and they are, therefore, attending duty illegitimately.
“We have met the director of health services and other senior officials at Swasthya Bhaban, requesting them to recruit us in permanent service. But, they have not extended our ad hoc service, let alone recruiting us to permanent posts. We do not have any official recognition whatever. It’s not fair or safe to attend to patients linked with criminal cases or accident victims at a time when we do not have any identity,” said a MO associated with a block primary health centre in Sonarpur, South 24 Parganas.
“There is every possibility of getting involved in medico legal cases if any of us attend to patients injured in accidents or crimes, and fill forms in connection with alleged rape incidents or injury cases. Therefore, we must have official status when we work in emergency services,”said another MO attached with a rural hospital in Tarakeswar in Hooghly district.
In August 2011, the state government sanctioned their ad hoc services for a year, till September 30. However, the government has failed to provide them with permanent jobs or extend their ad hoc agreement till the period following September 30.