With over 40 AIIMS doctors slated to retire in the next three years and about 25 by September, an old proposal to raise their retirement age from 65 to 70 has again been put on the agenda of an upcoming general body meeting. The move comes despite opposition and allegations of favouring senior doctors by some sections of the faculty.
Six months ago, the AIIMS general body under the UPA government had first mooted the idea of increasing the superannuation age of faculty, days before the announcement of the Lok Sabha election results.
Sources said while the November 28 meeting may have to be rescheduled with the appointment of a new health minister, the matter was “definitely” on the agenda prepared by AIIMS.
“Eminent professors in IITs and under the UGC are entitled to such extensions if their services are deemed necessary, first for a period of three years and then two years,” a senior official at the institute said.
“At AIIMS, we are not just teaching medical students, but we are also performing clinical roles, treating patients. We should also be entitled to the same privileges as these other faculty, especially considering the dire shortage of senior doctors here.”
With 16 doctors expected to retire by March, another nine in the next six months and a total of 43 by the end of 2017, officials said if this proposal was expedited by the government, they could continue their services. They added that about 10 doctors, including three heads of departments, had taken voluntary retirement in less than two years at AIIMS, opting to join private hospitals.
“This is the only way to fill the gap in senior faculty members… We cannot recruit faculty at this level, and if the retirement age is not extended, there will be a dire shortage of quality teachers and doctors,” an official explained.
Sections of the AIIMS faculty had criticised the proposal, which was first mooted by the AIIMS administration in May.
“If we continue to extend the terms of people at the helm of different departments and the institute, how will we promote new talent?” a senior faculty member asked.
The last meeting had cleared the appointment of 148 assistant professors, entry-level posts. Recruitment for these posts has already begun.
“Why are we recruiting new faculty members. If we think seniors are irreplaceable, where does this end?” another senior faculty member said.