BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to initiate action as per Act on a petition filed against illegal private practice of Government medical officers during duty hours.
In the petition, Odia Yuva Mancha, a civil society organisation, had alleged that medical officers and doctors appointed in State-run hospitals had been attending different private nursing homes, clinics and medicine shops defying the prevailing rules and regulations.
“Medical officers in Government employment are doing the private practice without giving priority to their duties and emergency calls thus depriving patients of getting proper health care and treatment in hospitals,” said Rohan Kumar Mohanty, president of the organisation.
Though the State Government had allowed private practice in 2003 under certain terms and conditions, it had categorically stated that the same should not affect the normal duty and they would not hesitate if called upon to attend patients beyond prescribed duty hours in hospitals.
“Most importantly, the private practice was granted only in their consulting chambers preferably in their residential premises. But, in most of the cases medical officers, including assistant professors, associate professors and professors of Government medical colleges and hospitals are visiting private hospitals and nursing homes,” the petition stated.
Shockingly, the agents engaged by private hospitals are diverting doctors and forcing patients to private clinics on the pretext of better treatment facilities, the petitioner contended.
While of 5377 sanctioned posts of doctors, 1281 posts are yet to be filled up, of 893 posts of assistant professors, associate professors and professors, 254 posts are lying vacant. Not only the doctors in the Twin City are engaged in private practice, most of the Government medical practitioners in small towns and interior pockets are also found attending patients in patho labs and medicine shops.
The NHRC, in its recent order, stated that since the grievance raised by the petitioner is subject of the State, let the complaints be transferred to the State Commission concerned under Section 13(6) of Human Rights Act, 1993 for disposal in accordance with the provision of the Act.