Nagpur: Confusion prevails about the retirement of 400 doctors in the public health department (PHD) in May 2018. As per a GR issued in May 2015, all the doctors who range between 58 years and 60 years of age as on May 2018 should retire, irrespective of whether they have completed 60 years of age or not.
There is lot of frustration among the doctors as the lot includes medical officers and specialists. The posts of these doctors will be left vacant in May 2018. The government, at present, is taking no efforts to retain them or appoint new persons on these posts.
Top officials not willing to be quoted in the PHD told TOI that in 2015, as per a GR, the government had increased the tenure of these doctors by increasing the retirement age from 58 to 60 years. Dr Sanjay Manekar, the president of Maharashtra Association of Gazetted Medical Officers (MAGMO), said that the ideal interpretation of GR is that all those who reach the age of 60 years in May 2018 should be retired.
“But here, they are retiring anyone between 58 to 60 years. This is absurd. Also, the government is not starting the process of issuing NOC which begins one year before retirement. Due to this, the issue of their pension is also delayed,” said Manekar.
“PHD director is learnt to be negotiating the issue with the state government as the vacancies will create a huge deficit in the department. Already, there are about 21% deficiencies in the health services. We are left with no option but to approach court,” said a senior official.
Officials at the civil surgeon cadre, specialists’ cadre, district health officers and medical officers’ cadre have all come together on the subject. They are demanding that a new GR should be brought out increasing the retirement age to 60 years.
“All the doctors who are retiring as per the old GR also include the newly appointed director of health services. The department is very short of specialists. There are specialists in rural sector and if they are made to retire in one go, the government will have to immediately spend Rs75 crore in releasing the various retirement benefits. Instead, it is always better to continue them till 60 years,” said another official.
The health services are already in very bad shape due to non-availability of specialists like paediatricians, gynaecologists, surgeons etc. There are maximum vacancies in these cadres and if existing staff, who have not completed sixty years of age, are made to retire, there will be no specialists left in the department.
The PHD chief is also learnt to have written to higher ups regarding increasing the retirement age of all doctors to 60 years, so that for at least another few years, the services of specialists and medical officers can be retained till new recruitments are done. The decision will affect doctors at the primary health centres, sub centres, rural and district hospitals.
Sources say that there are good chances that the state government will increase the retirement age to 60 years as the decision is in the government’s interest.