Chandigarh: 87 doctors have been finally appointed by the Punjab Health Department after struggling for long to hire specialists, courtesy of substantial hike in monthly salary and other financial incentives. The salary was increased from Rs. 70, 000 to Rs. 1 lakh per month by the state government in order to combat the shortage of specialist doctors. In addition to this, the doctors agreeing to serve in the remote areas will be given special incentives ranging between Rs. 20,000-60,000. Gynecologists will be also provided special incentives.
The 87 special doctors that are hired consists of 23 pediatricians, 37 gynecologists, 9 medicine specialists, 10 surgeons, 5 psychiatrists along with 3 DNB consultants. Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu handed over their appointment letters.
The rural areas of Punjab are grappling with acute shortage of doctors as the doctors refrain from taking up jobs in government hospitals. Out of 1,696 sanctioned posts of specialists, 309 are lying vacant. Out of the 2,340 sanctioned posts of medical officers, 175 remains vacant. At the community health center-level, there is the worst shortfall of specialist doctors- surgeons, gynecologists, pediatricians, and physicians.
The state government is planning to implement a new policy at the earliest in order to hire more specialist doctors. Under this new policy, retired doctors will be reappointed and their salary would be the last drawn salary minus pension. The re-employed doctors will be required to only perform clinical duties and they will be devoid of administrative responsibilities. Their postings would be at the stations that they choose by themselves. The present retirement age is 58 years and the doctors are given an extension of two years.
Sidhu congratulated the newly appointed doctors and emphasized on the Punjab government’s efforts to pay proper attention to the department of health, education and in implementing various reforms in these sectors.