Tamil Nadu: Contract-based doctors urge government for permanent employment
Chennai: Around 1500 doctors who were recruited on a contract basis during the pandemic in Tamil Nadu have approached the state government asking it to conduct a special recruitment examination in order to meet their demand for job security and continuation of services. The doctors are worried because their contract period would be ending by March 31. The doctors appointed on a...
Chennai: Around 1500 doctors who were recruited on a contract basis during the pandemic in Tamil Nadu have approached the state government asking it to conduct a special recruitment examination in order to meet their demand for job security and continuation of services.
The doctors are worried because their contract period would be ending by March 31. The doctors appointed on a contract basis have been working on COVID management and a number of public health jobs for around two years reports the Hindu.
During the period of a spike in COVID cases in 2020, many doctors were recruited on contract through an outsourcing agency and the Collectors. They were involved in COVID -19 duty for around six to eight months from May-June 2020 during the first wave. According to some doctors, the doctors after that were taken into health and wellness centres/mini-clinics during the end of February 2021 through the District Health Societies, where they were paid a salary of Rs 60,000 per month.
Eventually, they were shifted to COVID duty in two months as cases began to go up during the second wave. One of the doctors appointed on a contract basis told the Hindu, "Many like me worked in a mini-clinic only for two months after which we were diverted for COVID-19 duty during the second wave. We were posted in COVID-19 Intensive Care Units in medical colleges, where we even worked for 12 hours and deployed in red zones such as Chennai and Coimbatore."
Eventually, when cases began to go down, a few of them were deputed to Primary Health Centres. A few doctors said that they worked in COVID-19 Care Centres, home triage, contact-tracing, swab collection, vaccination, fever camps, dengue control, mobile teams and many more. They also worked at the block-level COVID-19 Care Centres during the third wave.
Meanwhile, the health department announced that they would be closing the mini-clinics saying their performance did not reach a substantial level. When the clinics stopped functioning on December 31, 2021, the contract period of the medical officers were extended by the department by three months following representations.
Another doctor said, "The government should consider our demands on humanitarian grounds". They have not received their salary for the last two months. The doctors further noted that the DMK's manifesto for the Assembly election included the chief minister's promise to regularise the services of doctors and nurses who were working on contract. They added that the government also brought contract medical officers working at government institutions under regular time-scale pay and conducted a special qualifying exam in 2006.
The doctors suggested that the government could consider taking them under Rule 10 (a) (i) of the Tamil Nadu State and Subordinate Services Rule.
An official told the Hindu, "Mini-clinics came to an end on December 31, 2021. The extension for the doctors was given based on a government demi official letter. Regular appointment of doctors to the government is only through the Medical Services Recruitment Board. Other policy decisions should be taken at the government level."
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