Himachal Pradesh may have made rapid strides in healthcare for patients, but young doctors have been handed a raw deal by the state government all through.

The Himachal Medical Officers Association (HMOA) recently represented to the government, raising few critical issues that perturb the young doctors in the state at the outset of their career.

The HMOA represented that a policy is being formulated wherein the government is considering incentive marks (consideration for post graduate degree) as zero per cent, two per cent, four per cent, six percent and eight per cent, as per set criteria. The policy envisages to exclude many health institutions from the grant of incentive marks for PG, where innumerable young doctors are working.

The HMOA said zero per cent incentive would deprive young doctors of benefit in spite of working under a heavy patient load and providing round-the-clock services.

“Such institutions are bound to face acute shortage of doctors and deterioration of patient care services,” the HMOA said.

The HMOA demanded that no institution should be deprived of the incentive grant and that incremental marks should be given as per defined criteria based upon the difficulty of terrain and working conditions in an institution.

The representation said that majority population resides in rural areas of the state and most of the hospitals cater to the rural area patients barring a handful.

“The Association office bearers should be duly heard before finalisation of the proposed policy to prevent future unrest,” said HMOA.

The HMOA demanded to abolish or amend the condition of pledging an amount of Rs 10 lakh in the form of bank guarantee for pursuing post-graduate courses in the state. It held that most of the students pursuing post-graduation come from a humble background; they are finding it difficult to arrange for the bank guarantee amount of Rs 10 lakh.

In its statement HMOA said, “Arranging for the money at the nascent stage of their career is unnecessarily putting the young doctors under pressure. This is leading to a sense of anguish which is bound to take its toll on their mental health, studies and future career.”

The HMOA said appointment of doctors on contract on low initial remuneration fails to motivate the youngsters to join the state health services and many are attracted towards private sector and overseas opportunities. There have been ever increasing instances of young doctors leaving the job within a short time of their joining due to lack of proper infrastructure, perks, security issues etc.

“The appointment on regular/adhoc   basis will help in preventing the ever-increasing brain drain from the state which has always faced a shortage of doctors,” read the statement.

The HMOA also alleged irregularities in appointments in the newly opened medical colleges in HP, which are made in haste to   obtain the prerequisite ‘Letter of permission’ from Medical Council of India.

The Association pointed out that the General Duty Officers (GDOs), despite putting in considerable length of service in the state, are being left out in promotions to faculty positions for lack of timely Departmental Promotion Committee meetings.

“We hope the government addresses these issues to encourage the young doctors, who put in hard work in medical studies. Let the government not equate them with other services,” said Dr Harshvardhan Singh, press secretary of HMOA, Kangra.