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Monday, January 8, 2007

Doctors seek `protection' from MCI action


Doctors seek `protection' from MCI action

By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI, NOV. 27. The Medical Council of India's (MCI) action debarring 10 teachers for giving a "false" declaration about their employment status has left Government doctors in jitters as they fear similarpunishment in due course of time.

While expressing "shock" and "concern," the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors' Association has decided to make a representation to the Health Secretary seeking "total protection" from the drastic action taken by the MCI. "We are hopeful that the Government will protect us because it was only on the instruction of the Directorate of Medical Education that the doctors went on temporary deputation during MCI inspections," says the Madurai branch president, S. Somasundaram.

Health Department sources said many doctors serving in medical college-attached hospitals had come to the "adverse" notice of the MCI for claiming employment in more than one college at the same point of time.

Shifting doctors, para-medical staff and equipment from one medical to another for meeting the mandatory requirements of the MCI is not a new practice in Tamil Nadu. "This was a State-sponsored activity for which we are not responsible. There are several occasions when Directors of Medical Education issued circulars to doctors to go on deputation to other colleges and act as staff there during inspections. We had no other option," says a senior professor of the Madurai Medical College. The teachers also recall the State Government's stand that "it is an unwritten convention being followed for more than 20 years."

Show-cause notices

The MCI has issued show-cause notices to many doctors in different parts of the State seeking an explanation why action should not be taken for submitting "false" employment details.

When the MCI inspected the Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli colleges early this year, there were reports that doctors and medical equipment from almost all government colleges in the State were moved there. The doctors ferried from other colleges were given photo identity cards as if they were the staff of those colleges.

Impending action

Even as the MCI action was impending, the Government justified manpower adjustments since it was not a new practice. As the Health Minister defended the temporary deputations at a function in Madurai recently, the doctors are confident that the Government will come to their rescue. "We cannot be victimised since we only complied with the orders of the authorities concerned," says another professor, adding a majority of the medical colleges in the State lacked faculty and infrastructure as per the MCI guidelines.

Members of the medical fraternity in this part of the State say that the Government should immediately fill vacancies and strengthen infrastructure in existing colleges and also those coming up at Andipatti and Vellore.

Discourage "deputing"

Our Salem Special Correspondent reports:

The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors' Association has reiterated that the Government should not encourage the practice of deputation for MCI recognition.

The State president, Dr. K. Prakasam, said the state executive, which met at Tiruchi on November 7, asked its members not to accept the "deputation offers'' in future.

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