New Delhi: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) recently issued an advertisement for the recruitment of permanent doctors at government hospitals in Delhi. While the medical fraternity welcomed the recruitment drive as a step ahead, especially since this had come after a gap of almost a decade, the low pay package offered by the government brought into question the whole objective of the recruitment process.
The general concern is would the recruitment drive really attract the young and talented doctors towards the government jobs at a time when the corporate hospitals are offering a handsome salary structure and other lucrative facilities?
Dr Lalit Maini, associate professor, orthopaedics, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), New Delhi, told AalaTimes, “It’s late but welcome. I joined this service around 13 years back and after such a long gap UPSC has again come with recruitment of doctors in Delhi. It means around two generations have been left out with the opportunity to be included in the government service.”
Expressing his discontent over the low salary package being offered, he said, “The salary package is not up to the mark. Nowadays, the salary of a fourth grade worker in a government service is around Rs 24,000. Compare that with the salary for doctors offered in the UPSC ad. A medical officer is being offered Rs 26,000 plus HRA (house rent allowance) per month which is close to a grade four worker.”
“A specialist neurosurgeon is being offered Rs 31,000 plus HRA per month. This self-designed pay package is not at par with any pay commission and needs to be revised,” added Dr Maini.
Dr Suresh Kumar, associate professor, medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, told AalaTimes, “The pay package offered for the various vacancies is modest and should satiate any doctor who is willing to work for the common man. For someone lured by only money, it may not be an attractive package. But I think it’s decent enough for anyone who is looking for a good opportunity to learn and grow.”
Dr Shishir Rastogi, professor, orthopaedics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, told AalaTimes, “The pay package being offered is apparently not enough. It affects fervour and capability of a doctor to justify his profession. The time and competition with private players demands a revised pay package.”
It is a common fact now that most of the doctors find private and corporate hospitals a lucrative place to work in. Doctors with similar qualifications and experience working in a corporate hospital earn more than a doctor working in a government hospital. The growing trend could damage the state run medical facilities in terms of providing best healthcare facilities and treatment.
“Talented doctors are shying away from joining government hospitals for dual reasons of low grade infrastructure and low pay package. There was a time when political leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru used to get themselves treated at state run hospitals. Now, even a lower middle class person, let alone politicians, prefers private hospitals over government ones because of the poor state of infrastructure,” Dr Maini said.
“The infrastructure in government hospitals needs to be elevated and a world class facility needs to be established in order to retain talented doctors,” he said.
Dr Rastogi said, “Young and fresh talent can stay only when the salary structure improves in government hospitals. Accommodation benefits and proper housing facilities could be a supplementary attraction. A doctor in rural area can stay only when all the basic facilities are provided to him.”
“Moreover, a mass outflow of doctors to foreign countries can be reversed by providing additional benefits and attractive opportunities here in our country,” he added.
Owing to the paucity of doctors in government hospitals, there has been a surge in the recruitment of doctors on contractual basis in the last few years. Although it helps in giving a platform for young doctors to practice, does it justify a doctor’s competency and ability to perform with enthusiasm?
Dr Rastogi said, “Contractual hiring is a bad trend. When the government already has vacancies, why does it take so long to come out with permanent jobs? Permanent recruitment is must for the expansion of health services.”
Giving a positive outlook towards contractual jobs, Dr Suresh Kumar said, “Contractual jobs are a good thing as it at least gives a platform for doctors to learn and gain experience till the time government comes up with something more concrete and permanent.”
Dr Maini strongly pitching for permanent jobs for doctors said, “Contractual jobs generally hamper a doctor’s talent and zeal to learn with great fervour and serve the field of medicine. It widens the glaring difference between the earning abilities and the work conditions of doctors in the capital.”
The current recruitment drive by the UPSC has again raised hope to attract young and meritorious doctors towards government hospitals who could serve the profession with nobility. The continuation of the process in future would strengthen the medical facilities and paraphernalia connected with the smooth and effective running of the government hospitals and also help retain talent in their fold.
by Vidhi Rathee
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