Health minister admits to shortage of doctors in rural government hospitals

Health minister admits to shortage of doctors in rural government hospitals

Using the services of retired doctors, appointing doctors on contract basis and a special recruitment drive to appoint doctors have helped little in overcoming shortage of doctors in rural government hospitals.

On Thursday, two MLAs — Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S) from Sorab and D N  Jeevaraj of the BJP from Sringeri — drew the attention of Health Minister Ramesh Kumar to the severe shortage of doctors in their constituencies. Bangarappa said that of the 16 primary health centres (PHCs) in Sorab, 10 do not have doctors. The hospitals have been facing severe manpower shortage, he added.

Jeevaraj said there is acute shortage of doctors both in PHCs as well as taluk health centres in Sringeri. There are no doctors even to conduct postmortem. At least, through the counseling system, doctors should be transferred, he said.

Ramesh Kumar said the government is aware of the shortage of doctors in the Malnad region. General doctors are available in PHCs. But specialists posts are vacant in general hospitals. Deputy commissioners have been authorised to recruit doctors on contract basis. In the absence of allopathy doctors, practitioners of AYUSH are allowed to be recruited. Services of private doctors on call basis could also be used, he said.

Ramesh Kumar said that in the Sringeri Assembly constituency, the total shortage of doctors, paramedical and other staff is 255 against the sanctioned posts of 449.

Rules are being framed to take up a special recruitment drive to fill up all the 1,065 vacant posts meant for specialists in various districts, he added. The minister said he is not inclined towards posting doctors through the counselling system as it causes more inconvenience.

It is uncommon for a minister to get a compliment from Opposition party members. But it was not so with Ramesh Kumar. N Cheluvarayaswamy (JD-S) sought details on H1N1 cases across the state. The minister, in his written reply said in 2016, the confirmed H1N1 cases were 110 and there were no deaths, while till March 9 this year, 871 cases have been reported with seven deaths. He also explained at length the measures taken to check the spread of the disease.

Cheluvarayaswamy surprised everyone by saying, “I am happy with the reply. I was also health minister. I know the problems of the department.  

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