The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Surjya cracks whip on doctors

Malda, Dec. 21: Doctors, beware. Your minister is watching and keeping count.

'Even we ministers have to be accountable to the people. Our work, too, is being evaluated by the party. Similarly, the government will keep tabs on the work done by doctors employed by the state health directorate,' health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra said at the inauguration of a private nursing home today.

The minister said his department had begun collecting data on the performance of individual physicians and surgeons. This information is being fed into computers.

'We have got hold of information that during a year, a particular surgeon has operated barely 10 to 12 times in a government hospital while he has done three to four surgeries a day in private nursing homes,' Mishra said.

The minister was firm that the government would keep under the scanner the integrity of the doctors it employed.

'How can we run hospitals effectively with such low rates of surgery' What happened in the past cannot be changed, but from now on, each doctor's work will be evaluated. They will draw handsome salaries and then under-perform ' this will no longer be tolerated,' Mishra said.

He also cautioned doctors about prescriptions they make. 'It has come to our notice that drugs manufactured by multinationals are being prescribed ' mentioning the name of the company ' though medicines available in the hospitals can deal with the illness. I am requesting you to stop this practice,' the health minister said.

Mishra said he, too, was a doctor but stopped practising. 'That does not mean that I have forgotten everything. The healthcare system is such that the most important role is played by the physician.'

On setting up more medical colleges, Mishra said the Union government's regulations were impediments.

'The Medical Council of India has very strange rules. According to its norms, the medical college has to be located on a 25-acre campus. We have pointed out that our hospitals do not have that much space,' the minister said. 'I go to Delhi every year to drive some sense into them (the Centre) and every time I find a new Union health minister there.'

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