In the last 10 years, as many as 4,400 doctors have failed to turn up for their mandatory service in government hospitals after graduating from a medical college, forcing the state to now consider a move to block the renewal of their registrations. For a start, the state health department has issued orders to 305 fresh medical graduates, who passed out last year in October and November, asking them to join the government medical service as per their bond. Pravin Shingare, director of medical education and research (DMER) in the state government, said if the registrations of such doctors is not renewed, they would be ineligible for private practice.
“We had set a cut-off date of persons who passed MBBS since 2007. All of them had signed a bond to serve in government for one year. Now, there are about 4,400 doctors who have not served the government service bond. So far, the government has been very understanding and has not taken action against those who have not served their mandatory periods in government service. But our repeated appeals to such doctors to complete their one-year service has fallen on deaf ears,” said Shingare.
“If their licences are not renewed for want of this mandatory service, then they will get classified as ‘bogus’ doctors, and we will give these names to district level committees,” he told Pune Newsline.
MBBS students from government medical colleges have to compulsorily work in state-run hospitals and clinics for one year. A penalty of Rs 10 lakh is imposed on doctors who are not willing to undergo this mandatory service. But in most instances, the doctors are able to skip this bond-period without paying the penalty. Satish Pawar, director of health, Maharashtra, said every doctor has to renew his/her registration every five years. One of the criteria for renewal is to show the copy of the bond release certificate that indicates the doctor has served the bond.
“On our part, we have released a list of 305 MBBS students who passed in October/ November last year and have issued orders about their posting. So far, 100-125 students have collected their orders but the remaining have yet to do so,” Pawar said.
With most doctors not opting to join the government service, there are currently 1600 vacancies in state-run hospitals and clinics.
“We have a total 7,600 posts and several vacancies of medical officers and specialists have been filled at Pune, Thane, Aurangabad, Nashik, Nagpur and Wardha. However, there are as many as 1,600 vacant posts… these are mainly at Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Buldhana, Chandrapur and Gondia,” said Pawar.
In November last year, Shingare had said that candidates applying for post-graduate studies through NEET would also have to show a bond release certificate.