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Anti-graft vigil heat turned up on doctors

‘Surprise checks’ will be made at the five major government hospitals in the city, and an eye will be kept on doctors engaged in private practice. This is part of the state government's initiative to curb corruption and increase the accountability of state-run hospitals, most of which are in the city.

Health department officers said the decision to intensify vigil against government hospital doctors was taken at the behest of state health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, who has received complaints about doctors “missing from duty during peak hours”. He asked his department to initiate stern action against doctors indulging in private practice.

“The process began three days ago, when director of medical education C.R. Maity and I paid a visit to B.C. Roy Memorial Hospital for Children at about 9.30 pm, after being told that everything is not in order there. This is just the beginning. We are determined to put a stop to government doctors getting involved in private practice,” asserted director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee on Tuesday.

The government has also initiated vigilance proceedings against over half-a-dozen doctors to start its elaborate plans to stop private practice. According to the service rule, only doctors working in state-run sub-divisional and district hospitals can practise in private, but only after informing the health department about it.

Doctors practising in big city hospitals or even those associated with health centres are not allowed private practice. But, violating service rules, most doctors practise in private, charging exorbitant fees.

“I cannot divulge the details for the sake of investigations, but quite a few key doctors have amassed huge wealth, which is beyond their earnings from government jobs. We have drawn up a list of several such doctors and have asked the vigilance department to initiate cases,” says Chatterjee.

Separate teams of health department officers will make ‘spot checks’ at all government hospitals, particularly SSKM, RG Kar, NRS and Medical College, any time from 9 am to 10 pm and submit a report to Writers’ Buildings for necessary action. As part of this move, the government will transfer over 2,000 doctors to the districts. Many have refused to go on health grounds.

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