Tripura not recruiting, unemployed docs meet Health Secy, say were ‘advised to try private practice’

A report of the state Legislative Assembly from 2019 said Tripura had 844 doctor vacancies against sanctioned positions.

A month after over 400 unemployed doctors of Tripura wrote to Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s office seeking regular jobs, they met Health Secretary JK Singha Sunday, and asked to be hired on ad-hoc basis till the state public service commission can afford full-fledged recruitment.

A report of the state Legislative Assembly from 2019 said Tripura had 844 doctor vacancies against sanctioned positions, 827 para-medical, technician vacancies and 956 vacancies of multi-purpose workers. According to the report, Tripura had 1,178 doctors and 2,269 nurses in service at the time, including 1,050 allopathic doctors, 27 homeo doctors, 85 Ayurvedic doctors and 53 dental physicians.

This, coupled with no regular doctor recruitment since 2018, has rendered many families of MBBS graduates helpless, with huge burden of student loans on them and no way to pay it, the All Tripura Unemployed Doctors Association told the Health Secretary.

In a press statement issued this evening, the Association said they placed three demands before the Health Secretary, including immediate recruitment on vacant posts, ad hoc recruitment till the public service commission can afford full-fledged induction, and experience certificates for doctors who are serving amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to an appeal from the government.

“The Health Secretary heard everything but could not give any satisfactory reply. Instead, he advised us to open private chambers or consider serving in nursing homes. This comment from the Health Secretary is surprising for us. We, new doctors of the state, have been frustrated by this comment,” an unemployed doctor who met the Health Secretary told this publication on condition of anonymity.

Singha could not be reached on his phone or his office for comments on the subject.

The state health department recruited 75 doctors on contractual basis in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in three batches this year, with Rs 50,000 as fixed pay. However, many of them have left the jobs, saying they weren’t ready to brave COVID duty without a regular job.

Earlier on October 27 this year, CM Biplab Kumar Deb, responding to a letter from Opposition leader Manik Sarkar on the issue, had said “…It was seen that despite having direct scope of rendering voluntary treatment services, most of the doctors didn’t take that opportunity….Stepping up for COVID treatment in public service is more important that meeting the Chief Minister.”

Though the CM didn’t give any timeline of the plan to recruit on regular positions, he said his government has ‘positive thoughts’ about the unemployed doctors. He added that 10 per cent marks would be given, during recruitment through the Tripura Public Service Commission (TPSC), to doctors who are rendering voluntary services amid the COVID-19 emergency.

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