Demanding pay parity with central doctors and calling for a rollback of the new postgraduate (PG) admission policy, the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has threatened to intensify its agitation if its demands are not accepted.
A meeting of the state PCMS Association was held here on Thursday to take stock of the ongoing agitation of the association. It was presided over by its working state president Dr Nishan Singh.
The association also demanded additional manpower of doctors for better management of health services through allocation of more posts of specialists and EMOs (Emergency Medical Officers) at every government hospital. The association is on a weeklong protest all over the state.
Addressing the meeting, Dr Nishan Singh said doctors were no longer interested in joining PCMS due to the wrong policies of the government. He said government hospitals in the state were facing an acute shortage of doctors as 26% posts of doctors on general duty and 38% posts of specialists were lying vacant.
Dr Nishan said the withdrawal of rural area incentive for PG admission and the discriminatory PG increments for specialists had further discouraged the doctors. After the government took these negative decisions, it gave appointment letters to 252 doctors, but till date none of them has joined service, he said.
Dr Nishan said the walk-in interviews conducted by the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) cannot bring about any improvement in health services until and unless better incentives and infrastructure were provided to the doctors. He demanded that the eligibility criteria of six-year rural service for admission to PG courses of cadre-based doctors should be reduced to three years and special increments should be given to all specialists without any condition.
Dr Gagandeep Shergill , general secretary of the association, demanded pay parity with central government doctors. He demanded separate entry scale for specialists with two-year and six-year ACP (assured carrier progression), and separate scale of senior administrative grade, higher administrative grade and apex grade for SMOs, civil surgeons and directors, respectively. He also sought abolition of the ceiling on pay and pension of PCMS doctors.
Dr Jatinder Singh Pannu, regional organising secretary, demanded conveyance allowance for all PCMS doctors, special pay to specialist doctors serving in rural areas and sanctioning of more posts of EMO and specialists. He said all teaching posts lying vacant in government-run medical colleges should be filled with PCMS specialist doctors.
Association spokesman Dr Sukhdeep Singh Bhagowalia demanded re-designation of senior medical officer (SMO) as deputy civil surgeon. The association was also of the view that civil surgeons should replace deputy commissioners as district heads of health service programmes.