Almost 2000 doctor posts vacant, Odisha Govt informs HC
Cuttack: The State government has recently admitted in an affidavit submitted in the Orissa High Court that nearly 2,000 posts of doctor in the State are vacant.
The Additional Chief Secretary of Health & Family Welfare department Raj Kumar Sharma submitted an affidavit stating that there are around 2000 vacant doctor positions in the state.
This comes in response to a PIL filed by the lawyer Chittaranjan Mohanty.
The lawyer had filed a PIL, seeking the intervention of the judiciary for filling up the vacant sanctioned posts in the government medical college hospitals, the District Headquarter Hospitals (DHHs), and other periphery hospitals. The petition added that many of the hospitals are functioning without the required number of specialist doctors.
The petition further stated that there are vacancies in the Odisha Medical Education Service (OMES) cadre in all the eight medical colleges of the state, adding that the base-level posts of assistant professors have vacancies of around 426; the promotional posts of associate professors have 94 vacancies and 40 vacancies for the posts of professors.
He added, "In order to treat patients and teach UG and PG students in MCHs, 382 assistant professors, 26 associate professors, and six professors have been engaged on contractual/ad-hoc basis."
The affidavit was filed by the state government in response to the PIL. According to a recent media report in The New Indian Express, upon the question of the vacancies of doctors, Sharma stated that out of the total sanctioned strength of the 8,729 medical officers in the Odisha Medical and Health Services cadre, around 6,744 regular medical officers have been appointed to the required posts leaving vacancies of 1,985.
The affidavit added, "For providing proper healthcare against the 1,985 vacancies, 699 medical officers have been engaged on ad hoc and contractual basis and for a temporary period under various schemes."
Claiming that around 1,586 backlog vacancies out of the 1,985 vacancies were meant for candidates from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories, he said that after three regular recruitments, the posts have remained vacant due to the non-availability of SC and ST candidates.
On the issue of vacancies in the Odisha Medical Education Service (OMES) cadre, Sharma said that the existing vacancies in the promotional posts of 94 associate professors and 40 professors come under the 25 broad specialty and 14 super specialty disciplines, adding that, "the major reason for vacancy in promotional posts of professor and associate professor is non-availability of suitable candidates in the zone of consideration in the feeder category posts of assistant professor/associate professor in spite of convening of regular departmental promotion committee".
The division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray has asked the petitioner to file a rejoinder to the affidavit filed by the state health department and issued the future date of hearing as November 17 after taking note of the affidavit, reported the daily.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that the Orissa High Court had sought a response from the Additional Chief Secretary of Health & Family Welfare Department on the number of vacancies in the doctor's post and the time-bound plan to fill them.