With members expressing concern over large number of vacancies in the doctor posts, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Damodar Rout on Thursday said steps have been taken to appoint 443 doctors on ad hoc basis.
Admitting a shortage of about 1,200 doctors in the State against sanctioned strength of 4,263 doctors, the Minister said while 462 doctor posts are lying vacant, nearly 700 doctors are either on deputation to other Government departments or urban local bodies or undergoing in-service post-graduation or supper specialisation courses.
After appointment of the ad hoc doctors, Rout said an exercise will be made to rationalise the appointment of doctors in public health centres, community health centres, sub-divisional and district headquarters hospitals.
“None of the hospitals will be without doctors,” the Minister assured the House. Efforts will be made to give choice of posting to doctors in periphery as many doctors are refusing to join their places of posting, Rout said.
Most of 443 doctors waiting for appointment are from Ganjam district followed by Balasore and Bargarh districts. During appointment of doctors, preference will be given to those who want to be posted in their home districts. The objective is to reduce the number of vacant posts, the Minister said.
“Shortage of doctors is not a problem of the State or the country. It is a global phenomenon,” Rout said adding, one cannot force a doctor to take a rural posting.
With a large number of hospital and medical colleges coming up in the private sector in cities and metros, there is a huge demand for doctors. Besides, there is a huge gap in the infrastructure facility in urban centres and rural areas. The Government is trying its best to improve the infrastructure in the rural health centres and hospitals along with better residential facilities to retain doctors in rural areas, he said.
Apart from three Government medical colleges, the State has four such colleges in private sector and another 13 proposals are in the pipeline.
While the Centre has planned to set up 65 medical colleges in the country during the 12th Plan period, the State Government has placed a demand for four medical colleges in Balasore, Baripada, Balangir and Koraput.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has suggested to the Centre to keep 75 per cent of the seats in the proposed medical colleges for students of the State and 60 per cent of the intake capacity should be Government seats, Rout said.
Initiating the debate on the budget of the Health and Family Welfare Department for 2013-14, Congress member Dr Prafulla Majhi slammed the Government for its failure in recruiting required number of auxiliary nursing mid-wife (ANM) in rural hospitals. He drew the attention of the Minister to the poor expenditure of NRHM fund in the State.