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Docs oppose practice ban

Agartala, July 17: The All Tripura Doctors' Association has opposed the recent ban on private practice by doctors holding administrative posts in the health department.

A meeting of the association yesterday passed a resolution opposing the ban and threatened to launch an agitation unless it was withdrawn.

A delegation of the association led by Dr P.K. Paul today met the secretary (health), M. Nagaraju, and pressed for withdrawal of the order banning private practice and restriction on fees to be collected by doctors for consultancy.

Nagaraju told the delegation that state government had passed the order based on a Tripura High Court judgment. "Unless the high court reconsiders the matter, the government can hardly do anything. But I will try to put across your views before the health minister," he said.

Last month, Chief Justice of Tripura High Court Deepak Kumar Gupta in a landmark judgment had restricted private practice of government doctors to three hours on weekdays either in their homes or in rented houses but not in private nursing homes, diagnostic centre or private hospitals. He also fixed the fees to be charged at Rs 300 for super-specialists, Rs 200 for specialists and Rs 150 for MBBS doctors. No fees could be charged on the second day and providing receipts on payment of fees was made compulsory, according to the order. The high court also sought an action taken report from the health department.

Acting upon the judgment, the department passed the order signed by the director of health services, Dr J.K. Debbarma, for all doctors in the state on July 3.

Paul said they also demanded an end to the differential rates of payment of non-practising allowance. "A uniform rate of allowance must be implemented for doctors of the same grade. At present, doctors holding administrative posts receive 10 per cent of basic as allowance. The whole thing must be rationalised."

He said several doctors holding administrative posts are specialists and unless they are allowed to continue private practice, patients will suffer. Paul said unless the government order and fee structure were revised, they would be forced to hit the streets.

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