KOCHI: The declining interest among medical professionals in joining the public health sector should be a conundrum under normal circumstances in a place like Kerala, with far too many suitably qualified candidates and far fewer job openings. But the lowdown on this can be an eye-popper. It is redtapism and sloth of the official machinery which hinders timely appointments which drive away the would-be candidates.
“The specialists should be hired within six months of them graduating from medical school. If not, they will be snared by the private hospitals or they will be looking at other avenues. It takes at least two years for the appointment orders to be issued. There is no shortage of doctors in the state,” said health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan.“However, cutting out the delay in recruitment is pretty important. Now we call four times the number of people we actually require. Not only with doctors, we face the same problem in the recruitment of nurses and other hospital staff,” said Sadanandan.
“The problem with hiring, lies with the exam policy. We need a separate medical board for these examinations which has already been raised by others. We cant expect doctors and nurses to wait endlessly for a job,” he added.From Medical Colleges to primary health centres (PHC), every hospital in the government sector is plagued by the issue. Most of the hospitals have allocated department and even the infrastructure, but lacks a doctor.
In the case of Ernakulam Medical College, several posts of assistant professors were created, but many of them are yet to assume charge.“New posts are created every year. Some of them gets filled. However, even now we have several posts lying empty — not only those of doctors but of nurses and other staff. But filling them is very difficult and several hospitals function on minimum staff strength and the existing staff there has to shoulder the extra burden,” said Peter, superintendent, Ernakulam Medical College.