The Maharashtra government declared 581 doctors ‘absconding’ on Monday, for being absent from duty without prior intimation for the past several years. The government sacked 104 of them and is in the process of firing the rest. It has also asked the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) to cancel their licenses as punishment. This would make it illegal for them to conduct their practice.
The already short-staffed public health services provided by the government were further hit owing to these doctors absconding. The doctors that were employed at government hospitals and health centres did not even resign before quitting, forcing the government to declare them ‘absconding’ in official records.
To ensure that its hospitals in rural areas are adequately staffed, the government has made it mandatory for MBBS students studying in state or civic-run medical colleges to spend a year working in rural areas before getting their degrees.
Dr Deepak Sawant, public health minister, said the government offers jobs to these doctors after they complete this one-year mandatory posting . Some of them accept the offer and some do not.
“As many as 581 doctors who had accepted the offer and had joined the services have gone missing. Taking this seriously, 104 of them have been sacked so far,” said Dr Sawant. The process to terminate the rest of the doctor’s jobs is currently pending with the general administration department .
“We have asked the MMC to take action against these doctors for cheating the government. We are expecting a reply soon. If the MMC cancels their licences, they will not be able to continue their private practice,” he told reporters.
The government will also discuss the issue with law and judiciary department, said Dr Sawant.
Meanwhile, the government had even offered doctors a last chance to resume work. Many of them have expressed a willingness to rejoin. The last date for accepting the offer was December 31, said the public health minister.