Bond binding on PG doctors

Photo: Had a nice 2-hour long interaction today with recent passed out post graduate medical students for compulsory postings under Assam Government service ... They have agreed to join

A file pix

The Assam government has decided to introduce a bond system prepared in 2005-06, which will make it mandatory for post-graduate doctors to serve in government hospitals and in rural areas for 10 years.

In case of non-adherence, doctors will have to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the government.

A meeting between health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and new post-graduate doctors is expected to be held at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here tomorrow. The objective of the meeting is to take doctors into confidence for effective enforcement of the bond.

Sources said many post-graduate doctors were shying away from serving at public hospitals citing various reasons and excuses like lack of facilities and infrastructure. They are, instead, treating patients at private hospitals soon after completion of their course. Many doctors have approached the courts with a plea to exempt them from serving the government on different grounds, leaving the latter with no option other than await the court’s decision.

Sarma told The Telegraph from New Delhi that tomorrow’s meeting would try to sort out problems that doctors face in government hospitals and enforce the bond in “mutually convenient ways”.

He said such bonds cannot be enforced without taking the medical fraternity into confidence. “Every doctor will have to sign the bond. In case they fail to comply, they have to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh while the government will not issue them permanent certificates,” Sarma said.

Sarma said the move was aimed at ensuring availability of senior doctors at government hospitals.

“The government spends about Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh to produce a doctor and it is expected they pay back by serving at government hospitals. The very objective of the government pumping in huge amounts of money to improve infrastructure and other facilities at government hospitals will be defeated if there is an inadequate number of doctors,” he said.

The minister expressed the hope that tomorrow’s meeting would be very fruitful.

Appreciating the step, a young post-graduate doctor at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital said he would definitely attend the meeting.

“No true doctor can ignore his or her patients whether they are at government or private hospitals. But if I do not get the basic facility, be it paramedics, equipment or medicines, it will be very difficult to perform my job at any hospital. Before enforcing the bond, the government must address these problems,” the doctor said.

Another doctor said he would love to serve in a government hospital not only for 10 years but his entire life. “I think such decision depends on an individual’s list of priorities. In a profession like a doctor’s, earning money is not the sole objective. For me, serving patients come first. I think the facilities available at GMCH are far superior to those at many leading private hospitals,” the doctor said.

The government has already made it mandatory for MBBS students to serve in rural areas for a year before they appear for the post-graduate entrance test. No student is allowed to appear for the test if they do not serve the rural populace.

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