Civic doctors in Mumbai avoid mandatory transfers to different medical facilities: RTI
According to the employee transfer policy laws of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, doctors are supposed to be transferred to a different medical facility every three years.Updated: Mar 01, 2017 00:28 IST
Over 100 doctors from 16 municipal hospitals of Mumbai have refused to follow the three-year transfer rule.
Responding to a query filed under Right to Information Act, the municipal health department revealed that 108 senior medical officers and medical officers from the hospitals such as Rajawadi, Ghatkopar, K B Bhabha, V N Desai and others, have been working in the same establishment for 3 to 20 years.
According to the employee transfer policy laws of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, doctors are supposed to be transferred to a different medical facility every three years. The rules also state that a civic-run establishment should transfer 25% of their working staff every three years.
Health activists said that the delay in transfer works against the patients’ welfare and quality of care because the doctors, working in same establishment for a long time form a well-oiled nexus with pharmacies and diagnostic laboratories that offer kickbacks for referrals.
“Despite the fact that Medical Council of India (MCI) has asked doctors from civic facilities to prescribe generic drugs to the patients, many of these doctors usually prescribe branded drugs, which are available at pharmacies outside the hospital. Even for the diagnostic tests, they as patients to go to certain laboratories. The transfer policy can break this nexus,” said Chetan Kothari, the RTI applicant.
The BMC norms also state that the establishment should create a list of employees who have completed three years of service in April month and submit the same with their head of the department.
Dr Arun Gadre, a health activist said that while the doctor is only a cog in the system of kickbacks, transfer of doctors makes sure the nexus doesn’t grow stronger. “If the doctors are transferred regularly, it breaks the chain of comfort and familiarity with the certain pharmacies and private radiologists and in turn patients are benefitted because they can avail more services from the civic set up,” said Dr Gadre.
“Something that is bigger than the kickbacks is that of inflow and outflow of patients between the civic facilities and their own private hospitals,” said a doctor on the condition of anonymity. “Many doctors from BMC have received notices and faced action for working in private hospitals and they continue to use civic facilities for patients from their own private hospitals which are usually in the vicinity of the civic hospital,” he added.
Dr P Jadhav, chief medical superintendent of periphery hospitals refused the statistics and said that the number couldn’t be more than a handful. “We keep doing internal transfers of the doctors according to the norms. It’s not possible that they have stayed at one place for decades,” said Jadhav.
Executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar and additional municipal commissioner (health department) IA Kundan, remained unavailable for comments.