AIIMS brings docs back home

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  • Published 20.01.14

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, has provided the perfect opportunity and motivation to non-resident Indian doctors to wing back home.

At least four doctors, working abroad and doing well, gave up their plum jobs with fat pay packets and returned to join the state-of-the art health cradle to serve the masses. (See graphic)

Dr Vijaysheel Gautam, an emergency and trauma expert working at St Peter’s Hospital, London, left his job in 2013 to join AIIMS-Patna. Similar were the cases with Dr Ravi Kirti, Dr Meenakshi Tiwary and Dr A.K. Barnwal.

Residents can be rest assured that the doctors can apply their expertise and experience gained in foreign countries, mainly UK, to treat and cure them.

The Telegraph spoke to these physicians to find out what exactly was the motivating factor for them to return to the country and to the city.

The sole motive behind Dr Vijaysheel Gautam’s return was his deep desire to serve the people of his motherland. Asked why he chose to come to Patna and not any metropolitan city in the country, Gautam said: “After gaining expertise in the field of trauma and emergency, I wanted to come back to my country to serve my own people. I chose AIIMS-Patna because it was opening an emergency and trauma centre. There are very few hospitals in the country, which can boast of a separate wing of emergency and trauma. The second reason was that I had an impression that smaller cities such as Patna do not have proper facilities for treating trauma patients. AIIMS-Delhi gets many patients from Bihar every year and if Bihar gets proper healthcare facilities, people would not need to travel to AIIMS-Delhi for treatment. This would help the brain drain to stop. AIIMS-Delhi is already an established institution. Therefore, I thought AIIMS-Patna would require my expertise more than the institutions such as AIIMS-Delhi,” said Gautam, who is among the first lot of doctors of Indian origin who have the specialisation in trauma and emergency care.

He hails from Kritpura in Chhapra district.

Asked what according to him should the state government do to improve the healthcare services in the state, Gautam said the state government should try to raise awareness among the masses that traffic victims and people who need medical assistance on an urgent basis should be provided help. “What I see here that if some motorist is hit by any vehicle, people run after the vehicle instead of extending a helping hand to the accident victim. I would request the state government to raise public awareness on this front. Schoolchildren should be taught the basic steps which they should take to help victims of different kind of disasters. They can spread this valuable information in the society.”

Dr A.K. Barnwal, head of the paediatrics department at AIIMS-Patna, said he had received lucrative job offers after his two-year study leave ended at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, UK, but he also chose to come back to the country.

“I was born in Jhajha town of Jamui district. I had decided even before my two-year study leave that I would come back to my state to serve my own people. The feeling of working in your own state is really very gratifying. So, when I received the job offer at AIIMS, I could not ignore it,” said Barnwal.

Asked about what steps the Nitish Kumar-led government should take to improve the health services, Barnwal said the state government should introduce non-practising allowance system in government hospitals. “Also, strict vigilance is required at hospitals on how much time the doctors are spending at the hospital and whether they are engaged in private practice outside or not.”

Dr Ravi Kirti, a physician at Mid Yorkshire Hospital at West Yorkshire, UK, also resigned from his fat salary-paying job to join AIIMS-Patna. “In my earlier job, I was getting thrice the money than what I am getting at AIIMS-Patna at present. So, my earlier job was most satisfying on financial aspects but my present job gives me more satisfaction because I am able to serve my own people,” said Kirti.

He added that the state government should improve the condition of hospitals in the district so that doctors at the Patna Medical College and Hospital do not feel the burden of patients coming in from the districts.

“People at University of Texas were more professional but working here at AIIMS-Patna makes me feel like I am at home. Nothing can match this happiness. It is really wonderful,” said Meenakshi Tiwary, a professor of laboratory medicine at AIIMS-Patna.

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