The under-construction building of the Malda Medical College and Hospital. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Sept. 16: The minister for women and child welfare and chairperson of the executive committee of the Malda Medical College and Hospital today said the salaries of teaching doctors would be held back if they continued to stay away from duty.
Sabitri Mitra, who chaired a meeting at the the medical college today, made it clear to those present that no work meant, no pay. The meeting was held to review the functioning of the medical college, where classes of the first batch began on August 1, and to discuss other issues regarding the improvement of the infrastructure.
“Twenty-four teachers have been appointed, including the principal and the vice-principal. I have been receiving complaints that many of them are not staying here and not reporting for classes but are drawing their salaries. This has to stop,” said the minister.
She said although many teachers were assigned duty at the district hospital, they were absenting themselves.
Mitra said the 600-bed medical college was also the district hospital and had tremendous pressure as far as the people turning up for treatment was concerned. She admitted that the hospital faced a shortage of doctors.
The superintendent of the hospital, Himadri Anri, said there was an acute shortage of doctors. “We have five physicians in the medicine section, four gynaecologists and three surgeons. There are at least 250 patients coming in for these three sections daily. Ideally, we need 10 doctors for each of them to tackle the pressure,” said the superintendent. The figures exclude the teacher- doctors.
The minister said she had specific information that a gynaecologist attached to the college was assigned duty at the hospital yesterday though the doctor had already been on leave.
“This particular doctor has been on leave since September 2. There is no commitment to assigning duty. This cannot go on,” she said.
“I have asked for a list of doctors who are either irregular or absent. I need the list at the earliest to freeze their salaries,” Sabitri said.
The vice-principal of the medical college, A.M. Rashid, told the minister that principal Debashis Bhattacharya was on leave. “He keeps the duty rosters of the teachers and I do not have the records. However, it is true that many teachers do not stay here,” Rashid said.
Sabitri also said she had come to know that the “working statements” of these absent doctors were being sent to the health department and they were getting their salaries.
“I have heard that many have stayed away complaining about the infrastructure. These are specialists and they can also help out by treating patients at the hospital. I will not tolerate all this,” she said.
She then asked district magistrate Archana, who was also present at the meeting, and chief medical officer of health Swapan Jhariat to take up the matter of absenteeism with the state health department.