KOCHI: The poor and needy, who depend on government medical college hospitals for treatment, are deprived of quality medical care as the doctors are in a hunt for greener pastures like lucrative postings in the private sector or abroad, the Kerala High Court observed on Wednesday. The “money-mania” that afflicts the medical profession has to be taken care of, added the court.
The court also noted that more than 75 doctors in state service have been keeping away from work and the government has initiated steps against them. A Division Bench comprising Justice V Chitambaresh and Justice Ashok Menon observed that consumerist and materialistic culture has gripped the medical profession.
The doctors opting for private practice or posting in the private sector deprive the patients belonging to the lower strata of society of quality medical care. The bench issued the order on an appeal filed by the state government challenging the Kerala Administrative Tribunal’s order directing it to reinstate Dr P Gopinathan, an associate professor of orthopaedics at the Government Medical College, Kozhikode, who remained absent from service without authorisation from February 20, 2010.
Dr Gopinathan intimated the government that he was not on unauthorised leave, but the absence was on medical ground for which he had submitted leave applications. The government informed the court that several persons, who had gone on leave for serving abroad, have failed to report for duty even after completing the period of leave. There is an acute shortage of faculty members in the government medical colleges which forced the government to initiate disciplinary proceedings collectively against all unauthorised absentees. A show-cause notice was served on Dr Gopinathan and a notice was also published in a leading daily, stated the government.
Gopinath had replied that he was not medically fit to attend work. The court noted that he had gone abroad for higher education. However, it said, in case he was medically not fit to attend duty, how he could go abroad for higher education is a question he needs to answer. The court also directed to conduct a formal inquiry into his unauthorised absence from duty. Thereafter, the government and the department shall be at liberty to take appropriate action.