New Delhi: Responding to the long standing demand of the medical fraternity, to have a separate all India Cadre for medical personnel, similar to that as IAS and IPS, the central government was recently seen writing to the states requesting their opinion on the issue
In a letter addressed to the Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories, the Union Health Secretary, put forward the idea to the states, asking them to solicit their views on the issue
The creation of an All India Medical Service under the All India Service Act 1951, like IAS, IPS etc, for creating a body of professional doctors across the country, has been under the consideration of the Government from quite some time. Considering the fact that Health is a State subject and the major requirement of Health Professionals is at the State level, it has been decided to solicit the views of all the state Governments on this issue.
Creation of a separate Cadre has been longstanding demand of government doctors, going back to the year 1977. After being in Limbo for the past 4 decades, it seems that the proposal is finally moving forward at the government’s end. However, further development is only dependent on the responses of the respective state governments. As far as the central government as concerned, the well worded letter seemed to be favoring the creation of a separate cadre
The doctors of Central Health Service (which is an Organized Group ‘A’ Service under the Ministry of Health and faintly Welfare) dealing With monitoring of various programmes/schemes relating to Health Sector have never worked in the States and, as such, do not have an appropriate perspective of the problems being faced by the state Governments. Creation of the All India Medical Service may facilitate bridging this gap and improve technical leadership and management both at the Centre and State levels.
What is IMS Cadre
The Proposal put forward is to create a common All India Medical Service Cadre similar to that to that as IAS and IPS, to administer all medical personnel working in the government setup across the country. Currently, at the policy making level, bureaucrats handle the administrative issues of highly technical branch of health.
At various facility levels , clinicians are given the additional task of facility management.
The creation of separate cadre of Indian Medical Services will lead to better administration of healthcare services. Elaborating on the issue, Dr Ved Prakash Mishra, President Academic Committee, MCI said ” It is imperative to have the separate cadre of Medical Services. Currently there is a technical gap between planning, execution and followup of specialized services and general services in the government. For instance, an IAS may be a good administrator but may not understand the intricacies of the healthcare sector. Similarly, a doctor may be excellent in his clinical practice, but not be as good as an administrator. IMS will create a special breed of administrators that specialize in healthcare, leading to better management and innovation.”
” Currently, for every policy change, we have to look upto to bureaucrats, who may not have a medical background and hence do not understand our issues. Creation of IMS cadre, will take medical services out of the hands of the non-medico bureaucracy and bring it under the governance of medical profession,” said Dr Pankaj Solanki, President FORDA. Further, the creation of cadre like IAS would also bring training opportunity and perks that are currently enjoyed by the IPS/IAS cadre.
Given the dynamics, the proposal is not without issues. ” Creation of seperate Cadre for medical professionals is an extremely costly affair. IMS used to exist before independence, but was abolished after the independence, when states did not agree that there should be separate cadre. Even now, since health is a state subject, two thirds of the state have to agree to the proposal, otherwise it will not go through.” Said Dr vijay Rai, president DADWA
” Currently, as a subject, Medical Education falls under the concurrent list, while health services are a state subject. To give healthcare a nationwide character, a number of policy changes have to be made at the highest level,” said Dr Mishra