Bihar doctors recruitment: Health department to hire 3,100 doctors without test
Health Minister’s defence: From NEET, a medical undergraduate has to qualify 9 exams in 4.5 years... Isn’t that enough?
The state health department is set to recruit 3,100 doctors through the Bihar Technical Commission (BTC) without candidates having to appear in any written test or interview.
Health minister Mangal Pandey Thursday defended the government’s decision not to have any written test for appointment of doctors.
“From the time of cracking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate medical or dental courses, an undergraduate medico has to qualify at least nine examinations in four-and-a-half years to become a doctor. Is that not enough?” Pandey said when asked by reporters if the government was compromising on quality and competence of doctors coming into their fold.
The minister, however, did not mention about the acute shortage of doctors in Bihar. Subsequent efforts by this reporter to get the figure through the minister’s office or top health officials proved futile as none responded to calls or text messages till the time of going to the press.
Dr Ranjit Kumar, general secretary of the Bihar Health Services Association, however, claimed there was over 70% shortage of doctors in the state. This, he said, had compelled the government to do away with interviews.
“There are only around 2,700 regular doctors working against a sanctioned strength of 11,393 in health services (district hospitals, primary health centres, additional primary health centres, community health centres, health sub centres, etc.). The scenario in medical education (assistant professors and above in medical colleges) is marginally better, with 65% shortage against over 70% in health services,” said Dr Kumar.
“As per WHO recommendation, there should be one doctor per 1,000 of population. The first health policy, drafted by the Central government in 1983, mentioned that there should be one doctor for every 3,500 people. However, in Bihar, there was one doctor for a population of over 50,000,” Kumar said.
Citing delay in appointment of doctors through the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC), the health department had amended rules a couple of months back to route their appointment through the Bihar Technical Commission.
In doing so, it had dispensed with the arrangement of candidates having to appear for interview. Instead, the BTC will now judge them purely on basis of marks obtained in undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses and work experience.
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Dial minister for medical assistance
Health minister Mangal Pandey said those in need of medical assistance could dial his residential office number 0612-2234455 between 9.30 am and 10 pm. “I have put in place a system where my office staff note down a patient’s complaint and gets in touch with officials of the respective health facility on my behalf to redress any grievance,” he said. The minister accepted that despite the rapid achievement in the last 16 months of his tenure, there were still many gaps in health delivery system, and so the arrangement.