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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Acute shortage of doctors hits government-run medical establishments in Odisha

Despite several advertisements to recruit doctors, state is struggling to get candidates to fill up the vacant posts

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 30.10.23, 06:46 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture

An acute shortage of doctors has hit government-run medical establishments in Odisha.

Despite several advertisements to recruit doctors, the state is struggling to get candidates to fill up the vacant posts. Students passing out of the medical colleges are not interested in taking up jobs at the government hospitals.

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The sad reality came to light when the state government submitted an affidavit regarding the number of vacancies for the post of medical officers in the government sector to the Orissa High Court.

Officials said while government jobs remained a preferred choice for the youth of the state and people even from engineering backgrounds have applied for clerical jobs, it’s not so in the case of the medical profession.

According to the affidavit submitted by the Odisha government, nearly 50 per cent of posts of doctors remained vacant because of the lack of availability of candidates. Students passing out from medical colleges are not applying for the posts at government hospitals. They are preferring to take up a career in the private sector as it promises better career growth and lucrative salaries and postings in the urban areas, officials said.

According to the affidavit, in 2018, the state government, through the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) had sought to fill up 1,950 medical officers’ posts, but only 938 were filled up.

The same trend continues. In 2019, the state government issued advertisements for filling up 3,278 posts, but only managed to give appointment letters to 1,403 as OPSC struggled to find candidates to fill up the vacancies.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus in 2020, the state government in January 2021 issued advertisements to fill up 2,452 posts but managed to recruit only 763 doctors. Again in June 2021, the state government launched a special drive to recruit 1,586 medical officers from SC, ST but managed to fill up 81 posts only.

In October 2021, against an advertisement of 1,871 posts, the state government managed to appoint only 358 doctors. Similarly against an advertisement to fill up 3,481 medical officers in 2022, it found only 1,202 candidates.

This year, the OPSC issued an advertisement to fill up 7,276 posts but 3,141 candidates have applied. “The recruitment process is yet to be completed,” said officials.

At present, the state has 11 government medical colleges and six private medical colleges. The total number of sanctioned seats is 2,525. Out of it, the state has 1,550 seats in the government-run medical colleges. The state has 10,774 sanctioned posts but half of it remained vacant.

Public health director Niranjan Mishra told The Telegraph: “There are many reasons for not getting the right candidates. We are hopeful that by 2030, we will be able to meet the requirement. We will be able to produce 2,500 doctors and will be able to fill up the shortage.”

Mishra said: “One of the reasons that sometimes we are not getting candidates is reservation and another thing is that doctors are preferring jobs in private sectors.”

Officials maintained that to stop the migration of qualified doctors from the government to the private sector, the state government has approved incentives for doctors under the Odisha Medical Services Cadre.

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