Dereliction of Duty: Maharashtra gears up for action against 600 'absconding' doctors
Mumbai: As many as 600 medical officers in the state are all set to face extreme heat from the Maharashtra Health Department and Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC).
According to a recent report by TOI, the health department is going to recommend the medical council to take stringent action against these doctors in way of suspending their registrations for absconding from duties, besides invoking the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Diseases Act and Maharashtra Civil Service Rules. The Disaster Management Act provides for the arrest of erring officials if they do not report for duty within the stipulated period.
In the wake of asking all these medical officers to immediately report for their concerning duties, the public health department's Joint Secretary MS Thombare has issued a public notice which clearly mentions,
" 'Absconding" medical officers must report to the deputy director in their respective areas within 15 days, failing which provisions of the Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Diseases Act and other such Acts would be invoked against them to ensure their presence on duty."
As informed by the sleuths from the state health department, Maharashtra has a sanctioned strength of 9,500 medical officers, and while 1,400 posts are lying vacant, 600 medical officers are found to have been "absconding." Pertinently, the state is having the highest COVID-19 toll in the country and has a low doctor-patient ratio. Therefore, taking serious cognizance of the dereliction of duties, the department authorities have decided to take this action of suspending the registration of the errant doctors.
Informing about the decision, a senior official from the Directorate of Health Services told TOI that while notices will be served to them under the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act, the MMC will simultaneously be asked to suspend their registration.
"We are passing through a critical situation amid the pandemic. The state is facing an acute shortage of medical personnel. And we found that our own medical officers have been absconding for a prolonged period. Many of them proceeded on study leave but did not return even after completing the studies," he added.
The authority further warned that If the "absconding" medical officers do not report for duty within 15 days, the state government will ask district collectors to invoke the provisions of the law and ensure their presence in Covid-19 hospitals. The Disaster Management Act provides for the arrest of erring officials if they do not report for duty within the stipulated period.
"If they do not report, we will have to take stringent steps and ensure their presence on duty," the official said.