Merger of rural medicos with health dept: Rural development ministry stands by doctors
At a meeting to discuss the merger of rural dispensaries with the health department next week, seniority of docs will again be a stumbling block; rural development dept wants seniority to be counted from the day of joining; PCMS docs oppose the movepunjab Updated: Dec 14, 2017 10:11 IST
Ahead of next week’s meeting between the secretaries of the state health department and the rural development department to discuss the merger of rural dispensaries and the staff with the health department, HT has learnt that the rural development department will seek seniority for its doctors from the date of their joining.
This stance most likely means that the merger — meant to alleviate the shortage of doctors with the health department — will end in a deadlock. Punjab chief secretary will chair the meeting.
HT has access to agendas for the meeting that both the health and the rural department have prepared and in it the rural development department has taken the plea that doctors serving it are getting pay and perks on a par with the doctors serving in the health department.
“So, their seniority should be protected after the merger from the date of their joining,” reads the document.
In 2014 too, the merger had been proposed, but could not go through with the doctors in the two departments not on the same page on conditions of the consolidation. Sources said then too, the health department had refused to accept the condition on seniority as desired by rural medicos.
The health department wants rural medicos to join as juniors to the already serving Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) doctors, as they are called in the health department.
The association of rural medicos has already announced that it will not abide by any government orders in this regard, if the health department fails to provide them seniority from the date of their joining.
Why were docs hired under rural development department
Doctors working under the rural development department claim that they were hired in 2006 when the state government decided to open schools and dispensaries under Zila Parishads, as hardly any doctor and teacher was ready to serve in rural areas.
1,186 dispensaries were opened by the rural development department to cater to a population of 10,000 each. Each centre was provided one doctor, a pharmacist and a Class-IV employee. It was mandatory for staff to serve in the rural areas throughout their service. Incidentally, the staff serving in such schools was merged with the education department in 2014.
“We are serving as doctors in rural areas for 11 years. Now, suddenly, the health department wants us to join as the junior-most in the PCMS. We won’t follow any such draconian order, which would ruin our future chances of promotions,” said Dr Aslum Parvez, state president, Rural Medical Services Association.
Meanwhile, members of the PCMS Association claimed that they won’t allow rural medicos to get seniority as per their wishes as there is ‘no comparison’ between the two cadres.
“We have passed a tough entrance and interviews held for our job through the Punjab Public Service Commission. Rural medicos were recruited by district level committees. How can they match our seniority?,” said state president of the association, Dr Gagandeep Singh.