The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is woefully short of doctors, with as many as 514 posts of health officers — from specialists to Class IV officials — lying vacant for the last three to four years. Of the 151 sanctioned posts for Class I officers, such as intensivists, cardiologists, neuro surgeons and other specialists, 143 are vacant. As many as 15 posts of gynaecologists are vacant, while of the 17 sanctioned posts for radiologists, only one has been filled. Five posts each of anaesthetists and ENT specialists are vacant. Nine of the 11 posts for general surgeons are vacant while two posts of orthopaedic doctors, and the single post of an opthalmologist, are vacant, while eight posts for pathologists are vacant. There is only one child specialist, while the remaining 12 posts are vacant.
The PMC runs 17 nursing homes, one general hospital and one infectious diseases hospital. The civic body also runs 46 dispensaries and approximately 5,000-6,000 persons register daily for treatment at the outpatient departments (OPDs). Honorary surgeons and anaesthetists, who are paid a paltry Rs 1,500 per month, conduct their visits at the OPDs while MBBS medical graduates have been posted as medical officers at various hospitals.
While 34 among 258 Class II officer posts have to be filled, as many as 135 Class III posts from the sanctioned 254 are still vacant. Of the 1,000 Class IV posts, 206 are still vacant. PMC officials admit that there has been significant delay in filling the posts, and the matter was even raised at a meeting of the Women and Child Welfare Committee recently.
While the state government has issued new recruitment rules on August 26, 2014, it is yet to finalise them. The civic body had also taken some time to collect details from each department and suggested changes to the recruitment rules. The rules are likely to be finalised soon, said PMC officials.
Meanwhile, Vivek Velankar, president of Sajag Grahak Manch, has already filed a complaint with the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB), claiming irregularities by the civic body in purchasing sonography machines. “… According to RTI data, in 2016-17, the sonography machine was used in 30 cases each month,” claimed Velankar. “In private hospitals, 500-700 cases are examined each month,” he said, claiming that the sonography machines were purchased at a higher cost by the PMC in 2016-17.
Velankar alleged that a model of the sonography machine was purchased for Rs 23.85 lakh, when the cost of the machine was half that amount. However, the PMC’s health department, while approving the tender, said the cost was the same in the open market.
Dr S T Pardeshi, acting medical chief of PMC, was unavailable for comment.