Doctors who don’t want to work in rural areas after completing their super-specialisation course will now have to give the state government Rs 2 crore instead of Rs 25 lakh as fine. And, specialists will have to cough up Rs 50 lakh as opposed to Rs 15 lakh, which their seniors were liable to pay if they failed to take up a rural posting.
The medical education department on May 28 issued a resolution to increase the rural bond amount. The rule will be applicable for 1,050 doctors who get admission into specialised medical degrees and 80-odd doctors who get into super-specialised courses this academic year.
While super-speciality doctors like neurosurgeons and cardiologists will have to serve in government hospitals for two years, specialists will have to work in rural Maharashtra for at least a year. “The bond amount had been fixed in 2008. We revised the fine as we felt it would not have a deterrent effect now onwards,” said Milind Mhaiskar, state medical education secretary.
MBBS graduates will continue to pay Rs 10 lakh if they want to skip the rural stint. Government officials, however, said they may increase the bond amount for MBBS doctors too.
State health secretary Sarvaree Gokhale said there is a “tremendous need” for specialists in the state’s rural and district hospitals. “Students, who get admission this year, will pass out in three years. By then, the need for specialists will have grown even more. The bond will ensure that we get a fresh batch of young doctors to work in rural areas every year,” she said.
Some doctors said the government often does not offer rural posts to super-specialists. “MBBS graduates don’t want to work in rural areas as they have to study for their post-graduate entrance. But super-specialised doctors have simply not been offered rural postings,” said a doctor.