HYDERABAD: Two medical officers employed on contract basis at Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in Venkatreddy Nagar, Ramanthapur might be terminated from services after Health minister C Laxma Reddy found them to missing from duty during a surprise visit to the centre. Showcause notices were issued to Dr N Ambika Samuel and Dr V Sumedha.
The reporting time for medical officers is 9 am but when health minister paid a visit to UPHC at 10.30 am on Monday, they were not found on duty. The minister’s surprise visit followed the unveiling of Samuel Hahnemann’s statue (founder of Homeopathy) at Government Homeopathy College in Ramanthapur on occasion of World Homeopathy Day.
Meanwhile, officials at the UPHC said it was a week-off for one of the doctors while the other had performed a delivery till around 4 am.
“Two medical officers are appointed to the UPHC. It might be their day-off or they might have worked till night, but at least one of them should have been at the UPHC for Out-Patient services.
It is considered gross negligence of duties if they did not report till 10.30 am,” said an official, adding that since they are contract doctors and not employed on regular basis, their services might be terminated.
“The medical officers are instructed to explain within three-days from the date of receipt of this notice as to why the proposed punishment of termination of services should not be awarded,” the showcause notice said. An inquiry is underway.
Only way to cross-check is by personal visit
Medical officers who perform duties as doctors at UPHCs and Primary Health Centres (PHC) have a reporting time of 9 am. However, there have been incidents when the rule was not followed.
The question is, how would officials know whether the doctors are reporting on time or not? The only way to cross check this is through personal visit to the health centre. While use of biometric system has been mooted, it has not been implemented yet.
Not first incident
The Monday incident wherein medical officers were not found to be on duty is not an isolated one in the state. Action was taken against six medical officers in four districts for being absent without taking leave, not reporting to duty on time, not attending official meetings.
“Four of them have been suspended pending inquiry and one who surrendered was posted to another Health Centre,” said Dr Y Lalitha Kumari, director of Public Health and Family Welfare. It is learnt that after district reorganisation, area of the districts has decreased and collectors have been paying visits to PHCs and other health facilities.