BENGALURU: Citing the shortage of doctors in the country, the union government has raised the service tenure of doctors to 65 years.
Commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent announcement to this effect, Karnataka State Health Minister U T Khader said, “The Union Government policy makers could have focused on deploying doctors at rural areas rather than extending the retirement ager of government doctors.”
Khader said, “The Centre could have extended retirment age of the doctors, who are willing to work in rural areas and that would have been a more appropriate move. The Centre should have consulted the state health ministries as every state has their own pros and cons to consider. For instance, in Karnataka, there is no dearth of government doctors. But there is a shortage of doctors in rural areas. If the focus would have been on getting doctors to rural areas, it would have helped people. Now, this will help the doctors get administration posts based on seniority and nothing else.”
Karnataka State government medical officers association president Dr Veerabhadraih too agreed with this view. He said, “The union government should focus on making young doctors take up work in rural areas. Though Karnataka has strict rules pertaining to rural service, the to-be doctors just pay the fixed penalty and opt out of rural service. Rural service would have helped the upcoming doctors to understand how the country works.”
“In private medical colleges, doctors can work till the age of 70 years. But they do not get any posts with great responsibilities as at that age, the doctor’s efficiency may have lowered. But such doctors, can share experience which is vital for doctors who are still in the learning phase.”
A doctor working with Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI), who requested anonymity, said, “More than judging the government’s new norms as a good or a bad move, let’s stick to the ground reality. There is a serious dearth of doctors in government hospital, especially in the rural areas.”
He said, the government should focus on maintaining the ratio of doctors working in the city and the rural areas. “This would definitely help the doctors share the knowledge and experience with the younger doctors and amongst themselves,” he said.