Dimapur, July 11 : Following the state Cabinet’s decision to extend the superannuation age of medical doctors to 62 years under the condition of ‘re-employment’ in the clinical sector, the Nagaland In-service Doctors’ Association (NIDA) has decided to resume its agitation over the failure of the state government to review the decision.
In a press release, the NIDA said that the core committee members and NIDA executives convened a meeting on June 23 in the presence of senior doctors from all the districts and directorates in regard to the cabinet decision on the superannuation age and directed district units to forward its decision regarding total cease work.
It said that all district units had favoured the proposed agitation in the “form of delivering emergency services only” with effect from July 18 to the 20th.
“If no positive response (from the government), then total shut down of all the health units in the state (total cease work) from 21st July 2022 for an indefinite period. If any untoward incident happens, the government will be held solely responsible,” read the press release.
“NIDA appeal to the general public to bear with us for the inconvenience caused and support NIDA’s genuine demand,” it added.
The association stated that it had written to the Principal Secretary of Health and Family Welfare department and the chief minister, requesting to review the cabinet decision citing its inability to accept it due to the use of the contradictory word “re-employment”.
“When the proposed ‘re-employment’ is for all medical doctors why does it not include administrative positions including the directorate,” it stated, adding that it was tested in NHM but failed due to hierarchical issues.
“Any officer retiring at Additional Director rank and above will have hierarchical issues in the district hospitals where the controlling officers are of Joint Director rank if implemented,” it said.
“The demand is for 62 years for all without any other criteria and shall stick by this decision,” it said, adding that effective date of implementation of any cabinet decision should be very clearly mentioned”.
The association also asked why the increase in superannuation age couldn’t be implemented in Nagaland when it had been done in most of the north-eastern states.
300 doctors needed in 2 medical colleges
The NIDA went on to remind that 150 doctors each will be required in the two upcoming medical colleges at Kohima and Mon.
“Since the Nagaland Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (NIMSR) is to be functional by the 2022-23 academic year, out of the 150 doctors required, so far, we have about 40-50 in-service doctors who are eligible and willing to take up the different post in the upcoming medical college,” it said.
“With the exit of such a large number of medical officers from the state health services to the medical college, there will be a severe shortage of manpower in the public health facilities of the state health department,” it added.
Maintaining that the state has only about 984 active doctors after deducting 245 inactive doctors, the association said “the shortfall of doctors in the state stands at a staggering number of about 871 doctors excluding 2 medical colleges and 5 newly created districts”.
“Presently, only about 40-50 MBBS seats are allotted to the state government by the Government of India per year. In this given scenario, it will take about 24-27 years or even more to achieve and come at par with the WHO recommendation,” it pointed out.
It said the enhancement of superannuation age will not affect the employment avenues of the unemployed doctors in the state, as only about 456 doctors are in the private sector with 528 doctors in the public sector, 200 retired or resigned and about 245 inactive out of the 1229 registered doctors in the state.
It said the retention of doctors through enhancement of superannuation age will tide over the acute shortages of doctors in the state.
The association went on to state that senior doctors are required to oversee the success of the upcoming medical colleges in the state and cited experienced retired doctors being employed by private hospitals while government hospitals are deprived of utilising their expertise.