Govt addressing shortage of doctors

April 3, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, April 2: The state government is taking various measures to address the shortage of doctors in the state even as it will soon review the bond policy.

Minister in charge of Health & Family Welfare Ampareen Lyngdoh told reporters that the last recruitment was initiated through the Recruitment Board which was specifically constituted to quickly address the shortfall of specialist doctors across the state of Meghalaya.

"We are now going to readvertise this matter quickly," Lyngdoh said.

The minister had recently informed the Assembly that about 397 new medical officers were recruited by the Board out of which 83 are specialist doctors. However, there is still a gap of 150 specialist doctors in the state, which is a cause for concern.

Lyngdoh also informed that the government is also sending doctors for short-term specialization programmes where doctors in CHCs and PHCs are duly equipped to deal with the more complex gynaecology or paediatric or even radiology matters.

According to her, there is a scheme of the government of India and two hospitals in the state - civil hospital, Shillong and Ganesh Das hospital - are now offering these courses to doctors and medical practitioners who have been on the job for many years and who are eligible to go for such kinds of programmes.

"(By) running these programmes, we will be able to quickly address the immediate shortfall of (doctors) in very important departments like gynaecology, paediatric, X-ray, and pathology. That is the mode we are adopting with the hope that at least ensure these specialists quickly get trained for a six-month programme and quickly go back to their places of posting and efficiently discharge their duties in those areas where there is a grave requirement of such specialists," she added.

Meanwhile, the minister said that the government is yet to review the bond policy when asked on bonded doctors who refused to serve in the state.

"Several of these bonded doctors are now undergoing their PG programmes. Whether or not the government will increase the repayment in view of bonded doctors who do not want to work or serve the state of Meghalaya, we are yet to review that matter because if I am correct the review was done 3-4 years back. I will be looking at this to find out whether or not we still have to increase these bonds. I dont have the exact details of the amount of the increase in the bond but for sure we must ensure that that happens," she said.

She informed that in the last recruitment, the government did employ most of the bonded doctors who applied for the vacancies of doctors in the state.

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On the other hand, Lyngdoh is of the view that "the doctors are in anyways clearing their NIIT examinations and are anyways proceeding for specialization in various PG hospitals and PG institutes then I think these kinds of situations or these kinds of doctors may be excluded from the purview of this bond."

"Nevertheless, I am aware that this is an important agenda so that we may address the shortage of specialist, shortage of doctors in our facilities across the state and in the meanwhile the contractual doctors are in anyways been hired in the national health mission (NHM)," she said while adding that this is also helping the government to fill the gaps that are glaring there in the state of Meghalaya.

Further, the minister informed that the state government is now preparing to focus on tertiary treatments.

"We would like now to make sure that at least 10-13 big hospitals in various hospitals get upgraded to the best facilities so that these tertiary care centres will to a large extent address the problem of patients having to travel outside the state to avail higher facilities from hospitals to treat their various ailments. This is something which is going to be done in a big way and we are accessing several funding sources. We would like to see the state of Meghalaya progressing productively in the health sector," she asserted.