No home posting for newly recruited doctors in Bihar
In posting the newly recruited doctors, the health department has, however, ensured that most of them were posted nearest to their home district.Updated: Sep 14, 2020, 14:58 IST
The Bihar government has deliberately posted 3,186 doctors, appointed as general duty medical officers (GDMOs) under Bihar health services on September 11, outside their home districts.
Given the urgency during the coronavirus pandemic, their recruitment and posting was done simultaneously in a record time of 36 hours since the Bihar Technical Service Commission declared their result on September 10. The recruitment of 5,000 nurses last month was also done in 48 hours.
In posting the newly recruited doctors, the health department has, however, ensured that most of them were posted nearest to their home district.
For instance, those belonging to Patna were posted preferably in Vaishali, 32 kms north-east of Patna — considered to be “close” by Delhi’s standard. Alternatively, they have been posted in adjoining districts of Saran, Bhojpur, Jehanabad or Nalanda, all within 64 to 85 kms radius from Patna, with a travel time of around two hours.
“Merit was the top criteria for posting doctors after which we considered their location. Only a small percentage who could not be accommodated at locations adjoining their home district were considered for posting in the same division as their home district and a negligible percentage may have been posted elsewhere,” said an officer privy to the decision who did not wish to be identified.
The Patna division, for instance, comprises the districts of Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Buxar, Rohtas and Kaimur. Bihar is divided into 38 districts under nine divisions, including Patna, Tirhut, Saran, Darbhanga, Kosi, Purnia, Bhagalpur, Munger and Magadh.
“There are two reasons for not posting doctors in their home districts. First, there is an advisory of the state cabinet coordination department to not post class II employees in their home districts; and second, to ensure better efficiency among doctors,” said the officer.
Absenteeism among doctors in government facilities is a common issue, Bihar’s principal secretary, health, Pratyaya Amrit, found after he inspected eight of the nine state-run medical colleges within a month of his posting on July 27. He is scheduled to visit the Vardhaman Institute of Medical Sciences, Pawapuri, this week. Amrit was drafted in place of Uday Singh Kumawat as Covid-19 cases were on the ascendancy and testing of samples was low.
Bihar’s total Covid-19 case burden then was 41,111, having tested the highest 14,236 samples in a day (July 27), with a cumulative test count of 4,70,560. The comparative figures have now risen to a total 1,58,389 Covid-19 cases against 48,84,417 samples tested, with 1,10,500 samples tested on Saturday.
Recruitment and shortage of doctors
The recent appointment of doctors as GDMOs was against 4,012 vacancies advertised a year ago. The government had recruited last month around 950 specialist doctors, having post graduate degrees, against 2,400 posts advertised a year back.
Bihar has been guilty of not appointing doctors in a time-bound manner, adding to a shortfall of around 5,000 as on date.
As many as 4,115 of the 7,956 doctors appointed since 1990 were recruited in the last one month after Amrit joined the health department.
Previously, 2,486 doctors were appointed in 2016. Prior to that, 1,355 doctors were recruited between 1990 and 2011 — 646 in 1990, seven in 1992, 29 in 1997, 12 in 2000, 272 in 2007 and 389 in 2011.
“There are around 8,000-8,500 doctors against 13,500 sanctioned posts under Bihar health services. A shortage of around 3,000 doctors exists in the rank of senior medical officer to director-in-chief, even as most vacancies at the GDMO level have been filled up after this round of appointment in the basic grade,” said Dr Ranjeet Kumar, general secretary of the Bihar Health Services Association.
Amrit was not available for comments.