Dehradun, February 18
After a lukewarm response to the government announcement of a hike in salaries of contractual doctors, the Department of Medical and Health has managed to deploy around 60 doctors in the state in the past three months.

In order to rope in General Duty Medical Officers (GDMOs) and specialists (PG degree) on a contractual basis, the Uttarakhand Government had announced the increase in the salaries in 2012.
But the government efforts seem to be a drop in the ocean when compared to the shortage of doctors. Out of the total of 2,430 sanctioned posts for allopathic doctors, posts of 1,059 doctor are filled and a total of 1,371 posts are still lying vacant.
To tide over the shortage of manpower, the Uttarakhand Cabinet had approved the manifold increase in honorarium for contractual doctors willing to serve in the accessible, inaccessible and extremely inaccessible areas.
“The department has deployed 60 contractual doctors so far after the hike was announced, taking the total number of doctors employed on the contractual basis to 173. Another 132 ayurvedic doctors are deployed in state allopathic hospitals on the contractual basis,” said Dr HGS Manral. But the Uttarakhand Government’s efforts to rope in specialists have not yielded results and the shortage continues to be acute.
The government had advertised for 583 posts of specialist doctor last year through the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission. A total of 67 candidates were selected and out of which only eight doctors have been posted.
The Uttarakhand Government has been holding regular walk- in interviews for contractual doctors and appointment doctors through the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission.
“No doubt, the manifold increase in the salaries for contractual doctors should act as a big boost but there are still few doctors willing to serve in the hills. Lack of infrastructure and promotional avenues are some of the reasons that deter even young doctors to serve in the hills. The government should also assess the selection process carried through the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission and make it more flexible,” said Dr DP Joshi, a senior doctor.
For wider publicity, the Department of Medical and Health has also decided to insert advertisement for vacant posts of doctors in the national level journal of the Indian Medical Association.

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