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Docs were not ready for Covid duty despite Rs 1.5 lakh salary offer: Nitin Patel

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that despite the government hiring Ayurvedic and Homeopathy doctors for Rs 30,000 and providing health service through Dhanvanthri Rath during Covid, the shortfall of doctors continued to exist.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar |
March 10, 2021 10:49:42 am
Gujarat Assembly, Nitin Patel, Gujarat assembly passes bills, Gujarat assembly passes three bills, indian express newsDeputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel told the state legislature on Tuesday that several doctors were not ready to come for duty despite offering Rs 1.5 lakh monthly salary during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Very limited doctors are recruited in the government. It is because, Gujarat is a progressive state and it is the right of every doctor to do private practice. So doctors — be it an MBBS or one holding a postgraduate degree or surgeon — after completing their bonds enter private practice immediately,” said Nitin Patel while replying to a question on vacancies for paediatricians in the general hospitals of the state posed by Congress MLA Chandrikaben Bariya.

Pointing to a new trend, where five-seven super specialist doctors got together to “start a nursing home or a big hospital,” Patel said, “I want to give an example. In 2015, the government tried to recruit 141 paediatricians through GPSC (Gujarat Public Service Commission). Only six candidates were found against the eligible posts. Candidates did not want to join the government in any of the faculties. All of them prefer private hospitals or nursing homes… So not just paediatricians, we do not get post graduate doctors for other disciplines too.”

The lack of doctors was also witnessed during the Covid outbreak in Gujarat. “During Covid outbreak when government needed doctors, private doctors were hired for Rs 85,000. These doctors were allowed to continue with their respective private practice. If they were leaving their private practice and coming to work for us, we had offered to pay about Rs 1.5 lakh during Corona. Even then doctors were not ready to come,” Patel said.

Patel, who also holds the health portfolio, said that despite the government hiring Ayurvedic and Homeopathy doctors for Rs 30,000 and providing health service through Dhanvanthri Rath during Covid, the shortfall of doctors continued to exist.

The deputy chief minister said that 15 per cent of the medical students who study in Gujarat are from outside the state who leave once they finish their course. Even many of the local medical students prefer to go overseas, he said adding that increasing the medical seats was the only option to get more doctors. “We are going to increase their salaries and emoluments. We have also decide to take the honorary service provided by some of the famous doctors,” Patel added.

When Congress MLA Ashvin Kotwal wanted to know if medical students can be asked to sign bonds for serving in tribal areas, Patel said that the government was also increasing the amount of bonds.

“Five years ago, as the state health minister, I had decided that the 15 per cent medical students coming to Gujarat for studying will have to serve a Rs 50 lakh bond if they fail to serve rural areas after their studies. These students filed a writ in Gujarat High Court which ordered that such a bond cannot be imposed on students from other states,” he said.

In response to another question on death of doctors due to Covid in the past one year, the state government in a written reply said 10 doctors passed away due to Covid and the kin of four doctors have been given a compensation of Rs 50 lakh each, while cases of four other doctors are pending with the Central government for compensation. Two could not compensated under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana as they were not on Covid duty, it said.

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