Updated: September 3, 2021 10:17:09 pm
The Ahmedabad Civil Hospital and its affiliated BJ Medical College (BJMC) are seeing a change of guard, with at least five senior professors and doctors opting for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), with the Gujarat government approving the retirement of four as of Friday.
The hospital is the largest public institution for Covid-19 patients which converted its dedicated women and child unit to a special 1200-bed facility for COVID19 treatment.
Dr Raghavendra Dixit, additional director at the medical education division of the state Health Department, on Friday confirmed that the department has approved the VRS applications of BJMC professor and head of microbiology department Dr Pranay Shah, who also held the additional charge of dean of the college; BJMC professor and head of orthopedics department D r JV Modi, who also held the additional charge as medical superintendent of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital; BJMC associate professor Dr Bipin Amin, who was with the medicine department; and BJMC assistant professor Dr Dimple Ganatra, who taught anatomy.
Dr Dixit said, “A total of four VRS applications have been approved by the government. We issued a separate order four to five days back, before Dr Modi’s VRS was accepted, appointing Dr Rajesh Solanki as professor and head of orthopedics department (at BJMC). Appointments for the remaining positions (whose VRS has been approved) are under process, orders will be issued soon.”
Dr Modi officially voluntarily retired on August 31 and the charge of medical superintendent has been handed over to Dr Rakesh Joshi, who heads the paediatric surgery department at BJMC.
Professor Dr Shailesh Shah, the head of the anaesthesia department, too has submitted his VRS, which is still pending. He told The Indian Express, “I put in my VRS in January because of my health issues and also for my family. Both my kids are in the US and wanted me to be with them. (VRS approval) may take some time, I’ll have to collect a letter and submit (for processing of VRS). I wanted to be relieved by the month of April or May but because of the Covid-19 crisis, the government did not approve because we were needed. I definitely would like to be associated with teaching so I’ll select one of the good colleges in Gujarat…If at all the government needs me for the third wave, I’ll be available to work anywhere in Gujarat, but I would like to take a break from routine duties.”
Dr Pranay Shah too had submitted his application for VRS in January this year and cited “personal reasons” for seeking retirement, adding that he does not plan to continue with teaching or practicing medicine in the near future. He confirmed that his VRS was officially approved on Thursday, which marked his last day at work.
Dr Ganatra had applied for VRS in the latter half of 2020, which was finally approved on Thursday. Dr Bipin Amin, meanwhile, had applied for VRS citing health and family issues, according to a BJMC teaching staff.
According to a source at BJMC, the state government had not accepted or approved the VRS applications it had received as of late June, but beginning July, those who had opted for the scheme, renewed their request before the state government, given the significant decline in Covid-19 cases.
“The VRS applications were submitted on different dates… but the government had not approved any owing to the Covid-19 situation. Now with the decline in cases, the state government is approving the pending applications together,” the source said.
In February, taking note of news reports about state government cadre medical officers opting for VRS allegedly due to frustration over bureaucratic red-tape over their requests for essential supplies, a division bench of the Gujarat High Court had expressed concern over the “supply of essential equipment, medicines and other supplies belatedly leading to shortage”. The issue had come up while the court was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation on Covid-19 and related matters.
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