Blow to Punjab rural health sector as PHC docs moved to AAP clinics

The newly-launched scheme has been slammed by the Opposition, with the Shiromani Akali Dal calling it a massive scam and demanding an independent probe into it.

Published: 29th January 2023 09:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2023 09:05 AM   |  A+A-

Bhagwant Mann

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. (Photo | PTI)

CHANDIGARH: Even as Punjab grapples with a shortage of doctors, the government has deputed several medical professionals working with Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to run the 400 Aam Aadmi clinics launched recently by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. The move is expected to adversely hit rural health services in the state.

Doctors from Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) working at the PHCs, along with those posted at the Community Health Centers (CHC), were instrumental in managing round-the-clock emergency health services at the block level in the midst of an acute shortage of MBBS doctors in the state.“The PCMS doctors posted at PHCs were managing emergency duties at the CHCs, which they will not be able to do now. Emergency services will be hit,” a doctor said on condition of anonymity.

Out of the sanctioned 4,000 plus posts of government doctors, about 1,000 are lying vacant, according to a cadre review conducted in 1991. No cadre review has been done over the last three decades, sources said.
PCMS Association president Dr Akhil Sarin said they have urged the government to ensure additional staff recruited via regular channels for the Aam Aadmi clinics. “PCMSA would like to suggest a more holistic expansion of health services in the state. The government should go ahead with their election promise of opening up AACs, but it should also focus on filling up the vacancies in the already existing healthcare set-up,” he said.

The newly-launched scheme has been slammed by the Opposition, with the Shiromani Akali Dal calling it a massive scam and demanding an independent probe into it. Party leader Bikram Singh Majithia said AAP government is playing with the lives of people by diverting primary health services from 50% of the state’s population to indulge in a PR exercise to revive the party’s sinking ship in Punjab.

Majithia added that SAD would approach Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and urge him to order a probe into the scam. “It first turned 100 Seva Kendra buildings into Mohalla clinics. Now it has turned 500 primary health centre buildings into Aam Aadmi Clinics,” Majithia said.


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