Mumbai: Honorary doctors in various medical colleges in the city have protested against the unfair treatment being meted out to them in terms of responsibilities given to them and have approached the Chief Minister in this regard.
According to JM Phadtare, honorary professor of chest medicine at JJ Hospital, it is strange that despite their seniority and experience it terms of teaching and patient care, they are not being allowed to function as head of department or even as head of unit. “It is a known fact that honoraries serving in various departments of state run hospitals like JJ Hospital and St. George’s Hospital have their name in their respective fields and can give high quality of medical education to the students,” he pointed out.
But the fact is that the entire system seems to be biased in favour of full-time doctors and they are being given all the responsibilities in the hospital, he said. “The situation is such that we are being made to work under full-time doctors who have trained under us and this is very humiliating,” he said. While the government accepts on one hand that there is a paucity of teachers in medical colleges, they are not willing to accept that the honorary doctors play a very important role in teaching the students.
Another issue that they have raised with the government is that the period from 1977 to 2009 should be recognized since the only thing that has changed since then is the nomenclature. “We are now being called `regular contractual’ and hence there is no reason why the period before this cannot be recognized,” he pointed out. At present, even the full-time teachers are being allowed to do private practice outside the hospital, and hence there is no difference between them and the honorary doctors for all practical purposes. The only difference is that while full timers have repeatedly got their pay scales revised, the honorary doctors still get only Rs 1500 per month and they put in around four to five hours of work daily, sources said.
With these issues, the honorary doctors recently had a meeting with the Chief Minister where they explained this situation.”We have been assured that the matter will be taken up by the CM based on the facts of the case,” Dr Phadtare said.
When queried about this issue, Dr. Pravin Shingare, director of medical education said that the honorary doctors are being given responsibilities as per the rules and there will be no change in that. The official agreed that honorary doctors are an important part of medical education and treatment and this is the reason they are part of the system.”In fact, we are planning to increase the number of honorary doctors in the near future so more medical students and patients can benefit from their expertise,” he added.
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