Vacancies in medical colleges leading to shortage of doctors
Although Assam has come up with two-three new medical colleges, qualified doctors emerging is rather less and is leading to shortage of physicians - a chronic problem in the city as well as the state. Doctors are not interested in joining government services and many senior doctors have also opted for voluntary retirement leading to shortage of doctors in times of emergency. Also, the number of faculty members has decreased and so many posts are lying vacant in the medical colleges.
Speaking to G Plus, Joint Director of Health Services, Dr. Ganesh Saikia, said that shortage of doctors has been a never ending problem as doctors do not want to join government fearing postings in rural areas. “In Kamrup (M) there are 20 urban health centres under National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) and 28 regular hospitals but in some centres there are no doctors. This is only because the students, after completing their MBBS, do not want to go to rural areas to practice,” said Dr. Saikia.
Dr. Saikia further informed that the doctors are appointed through the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) but the students do not even appear for the entrance examination nor do they join after being appointed. “Last year APSC conducted examinations for 500 posts and after cracking the examinations less than 50% of the students joined the services; the rest went for private jobs. Nowadays students do not have any family burden and parents also do not force them to take up jobs if they are posted outside their hometown,” said Dr. Saikia.
He also informed that the students go outside to pursue post graduate courses and do not come back to their native land for practicing or serving the people. “It is mandatory for students to practice in rural areas after completing MBBS to get into PG courses but most of the students do not do so. These are the factors for which there is a scarcity of doctors and it will be a never ending problem,” said Dr. Saikia.
Personal life more precious than serving people
Doctors should be responsible towards serving the people as they are considered as God but young doctors seem more concerned about their lives rather than the patients’ who depend on them. “The guardians are also equally responsible as they do not want their children to go to an isolated place to serve people. Earlier, people led a very critical life and earning a livelihood was their main motive and therefore they used to join wherever they could but now the scenario has changed. As the youths lead a healthy lifestyle they are not desperate for a job; rather they would wait for the right time to get a job of their choice and opt for private jobs rather than government service so that they can live in their hometown,” Dr. Saikia reiterated.
He said that they also get good packages and facilities in private nursing homes and also in government hospitals outside the state for which they go do not want to serve here in the state. Most of the students go outside after completing their MBBS and also concentrate much on coaching for getting into PG courses rather than practice in the rural areas which is mandatory for them. Doctors have resigned from their jobs just because they had been posted in rural areas which are far away from their home. According to an estimate, around 50% of the posts in the state health services are vacant and whenever advertisements to fill up the posts of doctors are published, the number of applicants is far less than the number of posts.
Medical colleges not competent to produce doctors: Dr. Ganesh Saikia
The state government has come up with new medical colleges and has announced to open more colleges in three-four districts but how effective are the medical colleges is a big question. Talking about the minimum facilities in the government hospitals, Joint Director of Health Services Dr. Ganesh Saikia said that there are no faculties in the medical colleges and although the new colleges are functioning with the minimum faculties prescribed by the Medical Council of India (MCI) healthcare facilities are affected because of shortage of doctors.
Dr. Saikia also informed that senior level doctors opt for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and after their retirement the vacant posts are not filled up as the newly appointed people are not willing to join the medical colleges. “If students do not want to join the government services then who all will be the next level professors to teach the students? The government has announced new medical colleges but where will they bring the faculties from or will it run without the faculties? There should be a proper plan before introducing a medical college so that students can get the best of the facilities and education system so that in the near future they can find interest to join the government services rather than opt for private jobs,” said Dr. Saikia.
• In Kamrup (M) there are 20 urban health centres under National Urban Health Mission (NUHM)and 28 regular hospitals
• Doctors do not join the government jobs
• Most of the doctors resigned after being appointed in rural areas
• New colleges functioning with minimum faculties
• Medical colleges not competent to produce doctors
• Lack of faculties in medical colleges to introduce PG courses