Bhubaneswar, Nov. 30: The state government is considering a proposal to raise the retirement age of government doctors to overcome the problem of shortage of medical professionals.
According to this proposal, doctors at the three government medical colleges — SCB Medical College in Cuttack, VSS Medical College in Sambalpur and MKCG College in Berhampur — will retire at the age of 65 instead of 60.
In case of doctors working in the peripheral sector — primary health care and district hospitals — the retirement age is being proposed to be raised to 62.
“We are considering a proposal to raise the retirement age limit (of doctors),” health minister Damodar Rout told the Assembly today.
The state government has 4,362 posts of doctors including 324 in the three medical colleges. Sources said as many as 426 posts were lying vacant in various peripheral hospitals across the state. The situation was worse in the backward Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi (KBK) region.
Official sources said that the Union health ministry had suggested that the retirement age be raised to 65 years.
Describing the scarcity of doctors as a “global problem”, the health minister said several states had already enhanced the retirement age limit to tackle the problem. The Jammu-Kashmir government has raised the age limit to 70 years and many other states to 65.
In the KBK region, 421 posts are lying vacant despite an incentive package being offered by the state government. The package includes a special allowance of Rs 3,500 a month to general doctors and Rs 7,000 a month to specialists posted in the region. The state government has also decided to announce posting of fresh doctors in the KBK region mandatory for a period of three years.
In order to attract the medical graduates to join government service, the state government has elevated the entry-level post from class II to junior class I rank. Despite this, fresh medicos are not inclined to join the government sector due to lack of infrastructure in rural and inaccessible areas.
The state government has also taken steps to increase the number of MBBS seats in its three medical colleges in order to produce more medical graduates. The government is also trying to persuade central PSUs such as NTPC, Mahanadi Coal Fields and Nalco to set up medical colleges in the state.