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NIDA to go on mass casual leave & total cease work on superannuation age

Nagaland News

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DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 5: The Nagaland In-service Doctors’ Association (NIDA) has announced that it will go for mass casual leave followed by total cease work “and to the extent of mass resignations” if Nagaland Government fails to implement its written assurance given on April 17, 2021 by the Chief Secretary in relation to increase of superannuation age of medical doctors.
A press release informed that this decision was taken during an emergency meeting of NIDA Executive body with all the district representatives and Core Committee Members on superannuation held on Saturday at Hotel Japfu, Kohima.
According to the Association, the State Government had on April 17, 2021 given a written assurance that “the Government is actively considering the matter relating to the increase in the superannuation age of medical doctors and offered to resolve the matter within a period not exceeding one year”.
The NIDA executive had meetings with the sub-committee on two occasions and during the last meeting on January 25, it had categorically rejected the Government’s proposal for 60 years superannuation age for administrative positions and 62 years superannuation age for clinical positions, it stated.
“In our context, it may be stated that the total sanctioned cadre of MBBS doctors is 511, dental surgeons is 37 and AYUSH medical officers is 27. The shortfall of MBBS doctors is 326, dental surgeons is 13 and AYUSH MO is 20 for various clinical positions in the existing health units as per IPHS, while another 248 doctors will be required for the two upcoming medical colleges at Kohima and Mon.
“It may be noted that during the intervening period since the submission of the NIDA’s first memorandum in August 2016, at least 42 doctors have retired from service amidst acute shortage of doctors in the State”, the statement read.
The Association re-iterated its scaled-down demand of 62 years (from 65 years) as superannuation age for all medical doctors irrespective of clinical or administrative roles to maintain uniformity and smooth practical implementation.
It cited various problems in the implementation of 60 and 62 years as superannuation age for administrative and clinical posts respectively.
“MBBS degree being the requisite qualification for entry into the Nagaland Health Service, all medical doctors are basically clinicians. Therefore, no in-service doctor would retire by 60 years of age by choice and all would like to continue in-service till 62 years by reverting to clinical works after the age of 60 years. After having served in administrative roles for 5 to 10 years or more without treating patients on a day-to-day basis, these doctors will be compelled to serve in clinical positions. If all the doctors on approaching 60 years are compelled to revert to clinical practice to continue in service, the next lower rung of doctors who are still active clinicians would be forced to take up the resultant vacant administrative post where they have no prior experience.
“This would result in further shortage of experienced clinicians at Health care delivery points contrary to the primary objective of enhancing the superannuation age. Therefore, this impractical suggestion would prove to be counter-productive where doctors who are out of touch with patient care would be looking after the hospitals and those doctors with no prior office work experience in charge of administration”, it explained.
Further, NIDA pointed out that there is no clinical post above Joint Director in the district hospitals, the highest clinical establishment in the State.
There will be no equivalent post for doctors desiring to revert on reaching 60 years at Additional Director level and above, it stated.
“Any senior doctor reverting to the hospital at Additional Director level and above will create hierarchical issues at hospitals where the head is of Joint Director level only. To cite an example, few years back, NHM had a policy to appoint retired senior doctors in PHC, CHC, DH, but since the controlling officer was MO, SMO and MS (Jt. Director) respectively, it interfered with the smooth functioning leading to the policy being abolished.
“Foreseeing the above mentioned practical problems, the NIDA has rejected the suggestion of 60 and 62 years formula and requested for implementation of 62 years superannuation age for all doctors. Furthermore, 60/62 and 62 for all in effect will make no difference either in employment or financial perspectives as all doctors will retire at 62 years in both scenarios”, it stated.
The Association expressed hope that the Government will appreciate the seriousness and urgency of the issue and solve it within the assured time frame.
(Page News Service)