Medical services in Govt hospitals to be hit
Dimapur, April 8: Medical services in Government hospitals across Nagaland are likely to be disrupted from April 12 (Monday) after the Nagaland In-Service Doctors’ Association (NIDA) decided to escalate its ongoing agitation from the present symbolic phase.
The NIDA is demanding enhancement of superannuation age of all medical doctors from the existing 60 years to 65 years in line with other states in the country. The association had launched its 1st phase agitation on the superannuation issue on January 25 by way of wearing black arm bands.
Irked by the Nagaland State Cabinet failure to take up the agenda of superannuation age of doctors in its meeting held on April 7, which the association said was the 3rd time the Cabinet had deferred to take up the matter in its meeting, NIDA in an emergency executive meeting on Thursday with the core committee on superannuation on decided that all members of the association will take mass casual leave from April 12 to 14, followed by indefinite cessation of routine works except emergency services across the State from April 15.
On reports that the State Cabinet deferred to take up the agenda of superannuation age of doctors in its April 7 meeting following receipt of a representation from the Naga Student Federation (NSF), NIDA claimed that enhancement of the superannuation age of doctors will not adversely affect employment avenues for unemployed doctors in the State.
Citing that WHO had recommended doctor-population ratio of 1:1000 whereas it is 1:4056 in Nagaland (projected population 2020) as compared to national average of 1:1445, the association claimed that the total requirement of doctors in the State is 2073 as per WHO recommendation, whereas based on the total doctor registered under Nagaland Medical Council at 1118 as on date, the shortfall of doctors in the State is 955.
“Presently, about 35-40 MBBS seats are allotted to the State per year. In the given scenario, it will take about 23 to 27 years to achieve the WHO recommendation,” said NIDA president Dr. E.Phyantsuthung and convener, NIDA core committee on superannuation, Dr. Thorhusie Katiryin a joint press release.
With the creation of 120 posts of doctors in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the total sanctioned post of doctors is now at 511. However, it is still short by around 800 doctors as per IPHS (Indian Public Health Standard) for the existing health facilities, NIDA claimed.
In addition to the existing 114 post vacancies against sanctioned posts (60), NHM (29) & NSACS (25), 300 doctors will be required for the two upcoming medical colleges.
“In response to the last advertisement for recruitment to the newly created posts of doctors in 2020, only 168 candidates applied for 199 vacancies. This clearly indicates huge shortage of doctors in the State, as out of 1118 registered doctors under Nagaland Medical Council, 520 doctors including contractual are under the department and about 200 are retired doctors (>65 years of age), which means 398 doctors are in private sector. Therefore, enhancement of the superannuation age of doctors will not adversely affect employment avenues for the unemployed doctors in the State,” it reasoned.
NIDA also claimed that in view of delayed entry into service owing to longer duration of study period, about 86% of doctors retire from service on account of superannuation by age. “The tenure of senior officers particularly from the rank of Additional Director and above is in terms of few months. This short duration of stay due to superannuation at senior level disrupts continuity of administrative policies and momentum of development in the department, especially at this COVID-19 situation.”
Experienced seniors are required to see the fruition of the ongoing projects especially the upcoming Medical College at Kohima and Mon which is in a very crucial phase, it reasoned.
“Training of doctors is highly resource intensive. It is also a fact that the clinical acumen increases with experience. In fact, many retired doctors are being immediately engaged by private hospitals while Government hospitals are deprived of utilizing their expertise and experience due to early retirement. Therefore, enhancing the superannuation age will enable optimal use of service of the highly trained doctors,” it further claimed.
Stating that it had been pursuing the issue of enhancement of superannuation of age of doctors in line with the Central Government policy with the State Government since 2016 to address the shortage of doctors in the State, NIDA lamented that the State Government is yet to address the issue.
“This matter is not for the benefit of an individual but is in the interest of healthcare delivery of the State,” it stated. (Page News Service)