Medical college warns truant docs

Malda hospital to cut leaves and salary of doctors who take unauthorised leave

By Our Correspondent in Malda
  • Published 19.05.16
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Malda Medical College and Hospital

Malda, May 18: The Malda Medical College and Hospital has warned doctors that their salary would be cut and leaves slashed if they took unauthorised leave from work.

The warning came after a meeting today of the medical college council which took note of a rampage by the family of a patient who died after alleged lack of treatment.

Sources in the hospital said 90 per cent of doctors reported for work only two days a week.

The number of teachers and doctors in the college is 168. "Out of them, 90 per cent stay away from Malda without leave and are seen here one or two days a week. About Rs 2 crore are spent monthly by the state government to pay their salaries. The health care system has been suffering here and patients are mostly attended to by the first batch of 79 junior doctors," a hospital source said.

On Friday, a patient's relatives ransacked the hospital premises and assaulted some doctors after the 18-year-old boy died. Four mediapersons were also beaten up by junior doctors. Englishbazar municipality chairman Krishnendu Chowdhury, who is also the chairman of the hospital's patient welfare committee, had to intervene to bring the situation under control.

The relatives of the patient, Akhtarul Sheikh, 18, said the youth had died because of medical negligence. Akhtarul, a resident of Englishbazar, had been admitted with stomach ache.

Medical college principal Pratip Kumar Kundu held a meeting today with members of the college council and the heads of 20 departments to sort out the matter of high rate of absenteeism by the doctors.

After the meeting, Kundu said: "We told senior doctors that if their attendance was not regular we would be forced to deduct from their leaves and salaries. We are not satisfied with the attendance of the teachers and doctors here. If they do not heed today's warning, we will take stern action against them."

A senior doctor this newspaper spoke to said the medical college, which started functioning in 2011, lacked infrastructure. "The most important thing is that there are no quarters for us to stay in Malda," the doctor said.

Hospital sources said some of the doctors have rented accommodation in Malda town. Doctors who do not get official accommodation get a home rent allowance.

The sources in the hospital said the doctors, many of whom stay outside Malda district, run private practice in their hometowns and do not report for work.

Another doctor complained that they could not properly treat patients as medical equipment were lying idle. "The hospital has procured medical equipment that cannot be operated as there is a shortage of 35 technicians. We cannot properly carry out treatment as a result," said a senior doctor.

Kundu, when told about the complaint of accommodation made by the doctor, said: "The Malda district hospital was upgraded to a medical college in 2011. We are gradually building the infrastructure.... No medical college in the state can provide quarters to the full quota of its staff. I don't see where the difficulty is to find rented accommodation as the state provides house rent allowance to those not staying in official quarters."

When asked about the May 13 vandalism in the hospital, principal Kundu said more security measures would be put in place to protect the campus.

"We are constructing a boundary wall around the campus. We will install 48 surveillance cameras.... We have received sanction from Swasthya Bhavan for installing the surveillance system. We are also going to set up a permanent police camp inside the college and hospital compound. We have appealed to the police superintendent for this."