Interns in govt hospitals denied stipend for 10 months

Interns in Mangaluru govt hospitals denied stipend for 10 months

Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru.

As many as 51 young doctors completing their mandatory one-year of house surgeon-ship in government hospitals are disillusioned by the government’s indifferent attitude.

These doctors since their posting as interns in District Wenlock Hospital, Lady Goschen Hospital and other urban community health centres have not received their stipend for the past 10 months.

Since August 2019, the young doctors have been submitting memorandums to ministers and making frequent trips to Bengaluru. Even Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s orders on releasing the pending stipend to interns have been ignored by officials concerned.

Interns Council (2019-2020) President Dr Chirantan Suhrid says in their 2014-15 batch of 250 students, 50 students including him had secured seats under government’s merit quota in Kasturba Medical College (KMC) through K-CET. If 200 students received a stipend from KMC, the remaining 50 students had not received any stipend from the government during the internship.

“Our seniors faced similar hardships to get the stipend,” said Dr Suhrid.

In 2018, Additional Chief Secretary (Department of Health and Family Welfare) to streamline the payment of stipend had ordered the Directorate of Medical Education to stop payment of stipends. He directed JJM Medical College in Davangere and Wenlock Hospital to pay the stipends from their ARS (Arogya Raksha Samithi) accounts.

“Wenlock Hospital Superintendent Dr Rajeshwari Devi H R declared that there was no money in the ARS fund,” said an intern, Dr Kuldeep R.

However, information obtained under RTI by interns revealed that as on March 31, 2019, the ARS account had Rs 2.75 crore.

Dr Rajeshwari Devi, however, defended her decision not to release stipend from ARS fund.

“The money available in ARS was not sufficient to clear the pending stipend payment. Money collected under the Arogya Karnataka Scheme should be utilised for the hospital’s expansion and developmental programmes,” she added.

Dr Rajeshwari Devi, who is also district medical officer (DMO), said the deputy commissioner had written a letter to Directorate of Medical Education on releasing the stipend for interns.

“We had highlighted in the letter how the health care services in the hospital will be crippled if interns decided to seek a transfer to another hospital,” she said.

Sources in Wenlock Hospital told DH that the salaries of two to three speciality doctors were being paid from ARS. If doctors can be paid from ARS, then why cannot interns receive their stipend from ARS?

Young doctors like Dr Siddharth Shankar say the government has no intention to motivate doctors to serve in government hospitals and provide quality care to the poor.

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