HC comes down hard on Govt doctors interested in private practice

In a hard hitting judgement, the Madras High Court on Wednesday came down hard on doctors who enter into government service, secure admission in post graduate and speciality courses as in-service candidates, get educated at State cost, gain experience by treating poor patients in government hospitals and then leave the job for personal enrichment.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam “deprecated” the conduct of government doctors who learn medical intricacies and diagnosis utilising the “poor man’s body” as well as the infrastructure provided in government hospitals at public cost but do not want to serve in those hospitals for long as per terms and conditions agreed upon while entering into government service.

“The skill acquired from and out of taxpayers’ money must be utilised for the people at large and it is under these circumstances that the government expects them to work in public hospitals at least for specified period… Such an idea can never be thwarted by those who abandon their duties by unauthorised absence or by way of submitting letters of resignation,” he said.

The observations were made while dismissing a writ petition filed by anaesthesiologist Silamban this year seeking a direction to the Health Secretary and Dean of Madras Medical College to accept a resignation letter supposedly submitted by him on December 20, 2010 and pass necessary orders relieving him from government service with effect from 2010.

Pointing out that it was the Constitutional obligation of the State to provide healthcare facilities to the needy, the judge lamented the poor maintenance of expensive medical equipments at government hospitals. Sometimes, those equipments end up being mishandled by the doctors as well as hospital staff who do not operate the machines as per instructions, he said.

In larger interest, Justice Subramaniam directed the State government to constitute a monitoring committee to keep a check over all activities related to government hospitals and make sure that it keeps a tab on attendance as well as performance of doctors apart from ensuring proper maintenance of the hospitals and medical equipments.

He also ordered recovery of money from doctors who secure admission in speciality and post graduate courses as in-service candidates but do not prefer to continue in government service. In so far as the writ petitioner was concerned, he said, a complaint against him should be lodged with the Medical Council of India for initiating appropriate action.


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