MEDICAL OFFICERS across 18 medical colleges and hospitals run by the state government are wearing a black ribbon since January 1 as a mark of protest, citing delay in making their posts permanent. The Medical College Medical Officers Association (MCMOA) has decided to go on a strike on January 11 if their demand is not met. The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) has indicated that it does not plan to make these posts permanent.
The MCMOA, in its statement, said there were 560 posts for medical officers, out of which 132 have completed more than two years in service. Apart from demanding permanent posts for the 132 doctors, the association has also demanded maternity, medical and Covid-19 quarantine leaves.
“At present, no medical coverage for self and family, no reimbursement or no maternity leave are given to medical officers,” the association said.
In 2009, the state health system was divided into two departments: hospitals from district level to sub-centre were pooled under the public health department and medical colleges and attached hospitals under medical education and drugs department. Anand Bergale, president of MCMOA, said permanent medical officers from the health department were transferred to the medical education department on deputation.
“Since 2010, every four months, our appointment is renewed. Medical officers, who earlier had permanent jobs, became contractual doctors,” he said.
Dr Gokul Bhole, medical officer from St George’s Hospital, said, “We have given repeated applications to deans and medical education department. But the discussion on making our posts permanent has been delayed by a decade now.” Bhole has been working at the hospital since 2013. “We met minister Amit Deshmukh last year in November and gave our presentation. He said he will make our posts permanent in a month, but it is pending,” he added.
The association is mulling over an indefinite strike after the token protest on January 11. Dr T P Lahane, director of DMER, said, “We have asked these medical officers to apply for permanent posts whenever Maharashtra Public Service Commission examination is held. But they have demanded to convert their posts without exams. It is an exceptional demand.”
Lahane added that most medical officers quit within two years of service and have not shown diligence.