Gujarat: Over 1,400 doctors paid Rs 21 cr to escape rural service

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In what is a reflection of the doctor shortage in the rural areas of the state, the government in the Assembly admitted that in the last two years 1,490 MBBS doctors who passed from government medical colleges chose to pay up than serve their time in rural areas. The government in fact earned Rs 21.85 crore in the last two years by way of bond collection from doctors who opted out of the compulsory service in rural areas.

As per the state government rules, MBBS students of government medical colleges have to sign a bond at the time of admission promising to serve in rural areas for three years failing which they have to pay Rs 5 lakh.

Rs 21.85 crore is a substantial figure given that between the year 2009 and 2014 students had paid Rs 15.68 crore.

In reply to another question the government also clarified that it was not mulling a proposal to grant the final degree certificate to MBBS doctors only after they mandatorily finish the three year rural posting.

Health minister Nitin Patel while replying to question on shortage of doctors in rural areas said that it was a matter of concern. "Many doctors in Gujarat chose to go into private practice. Specialists choose to come together to set up corporate hospitals and a substantial number of them choose to go abroad. All of these factors contribute to the shortage of doctors and specialist," said Patel. He in fact joked that transferring doctors was one of the most difficult jobs he had.

Patel also said that even those doctors born and brought up in rural areas were reluctant to serve there.

Dr Rajnish Patel, president of the Gujarat Medical Teachers Association said part of the blame is to be shared by the faculty appointment process. "Even when a newly minted doctor is recruited to serve in a rural area, his appointment letter to the post comes six months after he or she was told of his selection. A new graduate is not going to sit around that long, he will look for a job elsewhere," said Dr Patel.

Another doctor in the know said that while it was easy to blame doctors, the fact was that most MBBS doctors were reluctant to go because of lack of infrastructure. "When I say infrastructure I don't mean lack of buildings. It means lack of facilities where a doctor can perform his duties with reasonable care and this includes adequate availability of medicine, functioning operation theatre, equipment and even the support staff," said the doctor.

MONEY OVER SERVICE

  • As per the state government rules, MBBS students of government medical colleges have to sign a bond at the time of admission promising to serve in rural areas for three years failing which they have to pay Rs 5 lakh.
  • The government earned Rs 21.85 crore in the last two years by way of bond collection from doctors who opted out of the compulsory service in rural areas.
    Health Minister Nitin Patel also said that even those doctors born and brought up in rural areas were reluctant to serve there

Source: https://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-gujarat-over-1400-doctors-paid-rs-21-cr-to-escape-rural-service-2769592

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