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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New rules soon to govern govt doctors, hospitals

Doctors in government hospitals will no more be allowed to walk in late or leave home early without recording their ‘in' and ‘out'


The health department is even considering introduction of bio-attendance, where doctors will have to swipe in and out of the hospital with their fingerprints. The system could come into effect by January 2009.

After monitoring doctors' attendance registers in government hospitals across the state, the director of medical education decided to fix work calendars. At least 30% of the doctors, including some senior doctors, were not in the hospital even during out-patient hours, though most of them were signed in.

"We allow all doctors working in government hospitals to continue with their private practice. But nothing should come in way of their work here when they are supposed to be here. While most doctors sign in, we don't even know when they sign out. We understand the demand for them is high even in the private sector, but there has to be a system in place," said director of medical education Dr S Vinayagam.

Schedules for every doctor, finalised during department meetings, will require them to prepare for research projects, guide medicos and fill online forms for drug, antibiotic, death, infections, ethical and purchase audits, besides attending to patients and lecturing students. The facility will make such information available to members of the public.

The directorate, which has been insisting on death audits also found an increase in ‘discharged against medical advices'. "Now, we have decided to bring that too under audit," said Dr Vinayagam on Monday after a meeting he convened with senior health department officials.

It was decided that the hospital standing orders - a book of all government orders until 1956 - which continues to be the rule book for all government hospitals would be revised. "Some of the orders are as old as 1930. It makes no sense to follow them today. For instance, the head of an institution is permitted to use only Rs 500 a day for buying emergency medicines or equipment. That is hardly anything today," he said.

Besides, it would be made mandatory for departments to work on research- epidemiological or medical - and guide medicos into newer areas of research. "The deans would be empowered to approve funds for these projects," the DME said.

While deans, senior doctors and heads of departments are excited about the proposals, associations were hesitant.

"We don't disagree with the need to bring in new rules to bring in more disciple and better work culture. It's true that quality of care or treatment at government sector is not on a par with the private sector. It's also true that we don't have many research papers to boast of, said Dr Dinakar Moses, vice-president of the city wing of the Tamil Nadu government doctors' association.

"But if we must bring in the same quality of work we offer in the private sector, we would need more infrastructure and pay," he added.

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