Facing an acute shortage of medical staff in municipal hospitals at suburban Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently approved a proposal to appoint 500 specialist medical officers from the private healthcare sector to upgrade its trained manpower in the city’s peripheral municipal hospitals.
Accordingly, come September, peripheral hospitals will be equipped with 710 trained specialist doctors. In addition to employing 230 specialist medical officers in phase-one of the recruitment drive from the private sector, the corporation will also receive 480 bonded doctors from the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), as per BMC’s request.
“We will send the proposal to appoint 500 specialist medical officers for posting to Mumbai’s peripheral and specialised hospitals to the civic body after the creation of the committee next week. We hope to have these posts filled at the earliest so that doctors can start working by August 15,” said additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh, in-charge of the civic public health department.
At present, the civic body has an empanelled list of 20 to 30 doctors, who are paid a monthly honorarium of Rs 1,000-Rs 10,000 based on the number of times a week they carry out consultations for peripheral hospitals.
“On an average, beds at our peripheral hospitals run below 50 per cent of the total created capacity. We do not expect it to run at full capacity but considering the demand, these hospitals should be running at 80-85 per cent or more. We are already upgrading the physical infrastructure, so with a complementary upgrade in service delivery, several patients, who cannot afford private healthcare, will have the option to visit our hospitals for free treatment,” Deshmukh said. He added that the department might also hire 850 nurses for the hospitals.
“We have the permission to appoint 500 doctors, but in the first phase we plan to get only 230 doctors as the department needs to be confident of its ability to handle so many trained doctors in one go. If the programme is successful, we can increase the strength later. We are offering the specialists competitive salaries at par with the private sector and after their shifts, they are free to carry out their own practice at private hospitals,” Deshmukh said.
The civic body has estimated the financial load of hiring the 230 officers in phase one at around Rs 24 crore.
According to the BMC’s policy, the specialists will be posted to peripheral hospitals to carry out consultations during out-patient department timings. “We are looking at posting them from 8 am to 4 pm, as per our OPD timings. At some hospitals, doctors will have to come in two shifts,” Deshmukh added.