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‘Registration of docs who don’t take up rural postings can be cancelled’ | The Indian Express

The state has decided to crack the whip on doctors who don’t report for mandatory rural postings. Those found absent twice during routine checks could face cancellation or suspension of registrations as this amounts to misconduct, according to the Medical Council of India (MCI) rules. After the state health department issued a notice regarding this three weeks ago, 304 doctors — who were appointed as medical officers at primary health centres (PHCs) or rural hospitals — have responded. Maharashtra’s Director of Health Dr Satish Pawar, who was in Pune on Monday, said as many as 1,190 posts of medical officers are vacant in rural areas. “Despite so many notifications, showcause notices and warnings of administrative action, doctors have not paid heed to the government rule of joining rural service. We only hope that after this order, doctors start joining rural postings and the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) does not have to take stern action against them,” said Dr Kishore Taori, chairman of MMC. It was when Pawar came across a 2002 notification of MCI — which said if doctors remain absent for two consecutive times at rural postings it would amount to misconduct — that he decided to approach the MMC. An order was immediately circulated mid-December that such doctors should report for duty, failing which their names would be recommended for cancellation or suspension of registration, Pawar said. Dr Kanchan Jagtap, Deputy Director of Health, Pune, said they have zeroed in on 12 doctors. So far, one doctor has sent his response. “The doctor has a private practice and has not reported for duty at a PHC for the past seven years,” Jagtap said. Most of the doctors have a private practice and hence don’t join rural postings. Either they quit or then join the service, she said. “We have been filling many posts and so far there are five to six vacancies at 96 PHCs in Pune, while five at 24 rural hospitals,” she added. At the state level, too, Pawar pointed out that interviews are being conducted for the vacant posts. According to Taori, most of the times, doctors don’t join rural services as they haven’t got a posting of their choice. For instance, radiologists, who specially train in their discipline, are often disappointed when they are sent to centres where there is limited scope to practise sonography. “However, such cases are being considered and suitable posts are being allotted,” Pawar added.
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