GUWAHATI: At a time when many doctors are risking their own lives by treating COVID-19 patients, the unauthorized absence of a section of doctors at the six medical colleges and hospitals in the State has not gone down well with the quality healthcare delivery system.
Even though the Health department had sent lists of such erring doctors to the principals of medical colleges & hospitals for taking necessary and corrective measures, things did not move much in the last two years due to various factors including the outbreak of COVID-19.
On the other hand, the principals are in a fix to take necessary actions as many of the doctors (remaining absent for a long time) have already applied for the VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme). Among those who applied for the VRS include some of the HoDs (Heads of the Departments) of the medical colleges including the GMCH (Gauhati Medical College & Hospital). The principals cannot accept and reject the applications for the VRS.
The Health department has also not considered many of the VRS applications of many doctors on various grounds including the legal angle.
"The Supreme Court has already ruled that the government doctors' right to voluntary retirement is not absolute and can be curtailed in public interest. Under such a situation, unauthorized absence of doctors continues at the AMCH (Assam Medical College & Hospital) in Dibrugarh, SMCH (Silchar Medical College & Hospital), JMCH (Jorhat Medical College & Hospital), Tezpur Medical College & Hospital and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College & Hospital in Barpeta.
While majority of the erring doctors are in the rank of registrars and assistant professors, some associate professors, professors and HoDs at the medical colleges are also in the list of unauthorized absence," stated a source in the Health department.
Sources added that the Health department has already blocked the salaries of some doctors. The list includes those who remained absent at the medical colleges without any intimation to the appropriate authority.