Health cards for sale: 3 doctors suspended in Kerala

The department set February 15 as the deadline for getting the cards, which led to a surge in demand.

Published: 03rd February 2023 08:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2023 08:46 AM   |  A+A-

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Image used for representational purpose

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The resident medical officer (RMO)-in charge of Thiruvananthapuram General Hospital and two other doctors in the casualty wing has been suspended for issuing health cards to hotel workers without a medical examination.

Dr V Amit Kumar, the assistant surgeon and RMO in charge, was caught on camera issuing the card after taking a fee of Rs 300. Health Minister Veena George ordered the director of health services to take action against the doctors. They will face further action after a departmental inquiry. The health department has also decided to terminate the contract of a parking employee at the hospital for acting as the mediator.

Warning doctors against issuing fake health cards, Veena said their licence will be suspended if they are found guilty. She also asked district medical officers to ensure the authenticity of health cards issued in their respective districts.

“We are planning to introduce digital health cards, which will bear the Aadhaar number of the holder and the name of the certifying doctor,” she said.

The food safety department mandated health cards for food handlers as they can pass on pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, to others. The department set February 15 as the deadline for getting the cards, which led to a surge in demand. The card is to be issued by a medical practitioner in a form prescribed on the FSSAI website after a medical examination to ensure employees are free from communicable diseases, wounds and other health issues.  

Meanwhile, merchants and the Opposition have demanded a relook into the project’s implementation.
“The health department should give more time to employees to get the health cards lest it pave way for corruption,” said S S Manoj, state president of Kerala Vyapari Vyavasai Ekopana Samithi. Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said the cards should be withdrawn. He said the cards-for-sale has brought shame to the department.


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