The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Docs desert state hospitals
- 30 cite personal, health reasons in switch to private practice

Around 30 senior doctors of government hospitals have decided to quit, creating a vacuum that the administration may find difficult to fill in a hurry. This will leave the hospitals, already under pressure, in a state far worse than now. It may also affect the process of health-sector reforms.

Though the doctors have cited personal and health grounds for quitting, health department officials said the real reasons were the poor working conditions and inadequate salary. The doctors said private practice would be more lucrative and a lot more rewarding, given the shoddy infrastructure in the hospitals.

“It is unfortunate that some senior doctors have chosen to resign from medical colleges and government hospitals. We are trying our best to retain them with an assurance of looking into their problems. Even after that, if any doctor wants to quit, we are helpless. Earlier, we put a ban on voluntary retirement but now, we have decided to set them free,’’ said health secretary Asim Barman.

He said 25 to 30 doctors from various medical colleges and government hospitals had submitted their resignation. Some of them cited personal reasons, others health grounds. “Though initially we may face problems, we will get over it by recruiting fresh doctors,’’ Barman said.

But Barman did admit that the resignations were unfair. “I am sorry that the senior doctors, who utilised the government hospitals for years to acquire a name and fame for themselves, are quitting simply to engage in private practice,” he said.

Abhijit Banerjee, head of the cardiology department, RG Kar Medical College, disagreed. “Salary is not the sole factor. I quit because there is neither proper infrastructure nor working atmosphere in the hospital. The salary is poor and does not justify my putting up with the drawbacks in a government hospital. I can do much better in private practice,” he clarified.

Senior neurologist Anup Bhattacharya of Calcutta Medical College said: “Salary is one of the factors for my resignation, but not the only one. I am disappointed with government hospitals. There is nepotism everywhere,” he said.

Ilorashri Chakraborty, senior gynaecologist at SSKM Hospital, said: “The work atmosphere is wrong.”

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