A state government’s proposal to modify an order that counts one-day Covid-19 duty as two days’ work or double of the time served under rural tenure, to a regular tenure left several doctors unhappy. Following protests, the medical education department Saturday did a U-turn and said it will maintain a status quo in the earlier government resolution.
The move comes on the heels of an order directing postgraduate and MBBS-bonded doctors to report for Covid-19 duty in the state. On Friday, Gujarat Health Commissioner Jaiprakash Shivhare, by way of an order, directed postgraduate and MBBS-bonded doctors to mark themselves present in Ahmedabad in the next two days. Currently, 925 MBBS-bonded doctors are eligible to join Covid-19 duty across Gujarat.
A communication issued by Additional Secretary (medical education in health department) V G Vanzara, dated November 19 and addressed to the health commissioner, stated that as of 7 pm on November 19 the Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner sought 300 bonded doctors (upon MBBS completion) and 300 bonded specialists (upon completion of postgraduation) to serve in the civic body’s jurisdiction. A copy of the order has been accessed by The Sunday Express.
To meet the rising demand of doctors, Vanzara also suggested a September government resolution (GR), permitting the duration for which medically bonded doctors served at Covid-19 notified hospitals to be considered as ‘double the time served’ under rural tenure, “may now be revoked and instead each day of duty in Covid-19 work be counted as a regular day of tenure”.
A postgraduate bonded doctor, serving at a Covid-19 facility in Ahmedabad, Saturday said a government resolution, dated September 6, for the 2017 batch (to which he belongs) had specified that each day of Covid-19 duty would be counted as twice of the usual rural tenure. “We are working day and night. In this situation, you cannot tell us that the earlier decision has been revoked. There are sufficient bonded doctors who can be deployed from each batch. Additional Secretary (Medical Education), V G Vanzara, Saturday has assured us that the July GR will not be revoked. He has given us it in writing,” the doctor said on condition of anonymity.
According to sources, bonded doctors from all the six government medical colleges in Ahmedabad had complained about the “unfairness” of the move with the respective deans, college and hospital authorities. Vanzara could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, a second communication, dated November 21 and issued by Vanzara, stated, “Keeping in mind representation from resident doctors and after review… (that) the services of bonded doctors are of utmost importance to control the Covid-19 situation… in this regard… the 1:2 ratio for postgraduate bonded doctors remain status quo.”
The communique addressed to the health commissioner has been accessed by the paper.
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