Hyderabad: In order to address the growing shortage of faculty members in state-run medical colleges, the Telangana Government will soon release an order to escalate the retirement age of doctors from 58 to 65 years.
The move came after the State Health Department officials cited the deficiency of eligible candidates for the faculty members’ post.
The government authorities pointed out that every year a good number of medical professionals retire which adds to the crunch of doctors in the state. Therefore, to fill the dearth, Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao gave his approval to come up with an order where the retirement age will be increased to 65.
The move came in compliance with the decision taken by the Union cabinet to enhance the age of superannuation of Non-Teaching and Public Health Specialists of Central Health Service from 62 years to 65 years and Doctors of General Duty Medical Officers (GDMOs) sub-cadre of Central Health Service (CHS) to 65 years.
Earlier, the state cabinet had approved the decision for the increase in the retirement age to 65 years in May 2018, but due to the protest by associate professors, this could not get implemented.
Now, in the light of increasing the number of medical colleges in the state, the government is once again going to make efforts at increasing the retirement age of medical teachers.
Government is planning to add more medical colleges in the state, including the setting up of flagship All India Institute of Medical sciences at Bibinagar, besides increasing more medical colleges. To establish medical colleges, the primary requirement besides infrastructure is that faculty. However, with the state looking at 57 medical teachers retiring with no replacement this year, the process of expansion of medical education in the state would get hampered.
Addressing this issue , Health Minister Eatala Rajender re-announced the decision of increasing the retirement age while addressing a Press Conference held in the MNJ Institute of Oncology Regional Cancer Centre reports the TOI.
She highlighted the concern that the shortage of faculty could lead to denial of MCI recognition for the colleges.
The decision of the state government, however drew flack from young doctors in the state, who pointed out that government should set up a proper system of promotions so that junior doctors are given a chance at teaching and growth thereafter, rather than increasing the retirement age to let older doctors continue.
The members of the Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA) strongly opposed the decision threatning that they will go on an indefinite strike along with unemployed young specialist doctors if the order in this regard gets issued. The association submitted a representation letter to the state government in this regard.
Not just this, doctors under the umbrella Health Reform Doctor’s Association organised a dharna with unemployed youths. Doctors associated with TJUDA boycotted elective services throughout the day and have planned to continue the strike until the Director of Medical Education comes to a decision keeping all stakeholders in mind.
The TJUDA pointed out that with the increase in the retirement age, there will be no vacant seats for new recruitment. The faculty will not get promoted to their higher post as the associate professor will not retire at 58 years, therefore the young medicos will add on to the unemployed sector.
Dr P S Vijayender, chairperson, TJUDA told the PTI that ‘the proposal to increase the retirement age of teacher- doctors would cause huge loss to the young unemployed specialist doctors aspiring to be recruited as assistant professors for the next 10 years.’
Speaking to the New Indian Express, Dr PS Vijender, chairman of Telangana Junior Doctors Association, said, “From 2011 there has been no recruitment. If older professors get another seven years of extension, the opportunity of fresh faces to become faculty will further decrease. Right now, it is recruitment that is crucial, not age-hike. There are 1,750 sanctioned seats of assistant professors, and 1,333 are still vacant. Meanwhile, professor vacancies are around 270. If the CAS is implemented, more that 400 associate professors will become eligible for the post of professors.”