TENKASI: A section of doctors working in government hospitals (GH) have expressed concern over their colleagues engaging in private practice during GH duty hours. A doctor attached to the District Government Headquarters Hospital (GHQH) told TNIE that a Tenkasi-based private hospital has been publishing its duty chart daily on Facebook, and it includes names of government surgeons and specialists working at GHQH, Shengottai GH and Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital.
"These doctors work at the private hospital as per their duty chart, and also mark present for the same time in respective GHs. The junior doctors are forced to take up the seniors' workload during their absence," he added.
Another doctor alleged that a Shengottai-based government consultant was holding the Chief Medical Officer post at that private hospital, which is run in his family member's name. Further, a doctor attached to the Primary Health Centre in Karumbanur holds a team coordinator post in another private hospital functioning in Tenkasi. "The government doctors' photographs are uploaded on the private hospital's website. Several government doctors in this district also attend special camps organised by the private hospitals during their GH duty hours," he claimed.
Meanwhile, a government doctor performing private practice said, "Our duty hours in the GH are from 7.30 am to 12.30 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm. Only after these hours, we take up private practice."
When contacted by TNIE, Tamil Nadu Medical Council President Dr K Senthil said use of government doctors' name and images on portals of private hospitals is against the council's norms. "Holding any post in private hospitals also amounts to misconduct," he added. Joint Director (Health Services), Tenkasi, Dr Venkatrangan told TNIE that he would conduct an inquiry into the allegations.
An official from the health department said, "We analysed the data of surgeries performed under the Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme, and found that some doctors have 'performed' surgeries at the same time in private hospitals as well as government hospitals. We are tracking the activities of such doctors."
Last week, based on a complaint that doctors at Government Thanjavur Medical College Hospital were engaging in private practice during duty hours, Director of Medical Education Dr R Narayana Babu instructed the hospital dean to form a committee to inquire into the allegation.