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Indian Express
23 November 2010
By Maulshreeseth
Lucknow, India

Amendments Compulsory rural stint for newly–appointed doctors if they want promotion
Doctors Doubt Efficacy of New Rules
The state government’s decision to make rural stint compulsory for promotion of newly appointed doctors has put state health department in a difficult situation, which despite all its best efforts is facing crunch of doctors.

As per the new amendment cleared by the Cabinet on Monday, doctors appointed from December 1, 2010 will have to serve at Community Health Centre or Primary Health Centre for at least four years to get promoted from the post of a senior medical officer to a consultant within the services.

Doctors who will be working in backward areas will be eligible for promotion after two years.

A majority in the department doubt that the move will be successful in ensuring presence of doctors in rural areas. Instead, it might have a negative impact on the upcoming recruitments – which has already seen a downslide recently.

At present, Uttar Pradesh has 12,500 posts of doctors but only 8,000 of these are occupied under the Provincial medical and health services.

In April , when a rural stint was not compulsory for promotion – the state had begun a major recruitment drive. The idea was to appoint about 2,400 doctors. But there were only 1,500 candidates, of whom around 1,000 joined.

"The timing of the last appointment was wrong," said a senior official of the health department. "The results of Post Graduate Medical Entrance Exams were declared around the same time and some of the applicants went there. We are sure there will be no dearth of applicants in future." This is not the first time rural posting has been made compulsory for promotions.

Before the formation of new medical and health services rules in 2004, a five–year rural posting was compulsory in the plains, and a three–year rural posting was compulsory in the hilly areas, which are now a part of Uttaranchal.

"When the new UP medical and health services rules were formed in 2004, this provision was not part of it. While we do not have a problem with this provision, we feel the government should give additional incentives to doctors to work in rural areas. We will be demanding at least a month’s salary as an incentive," said BP Singh, secretary of the Provincial Medical and Health Services association.

Sources in the Health Department say a fresh list of newly recruited doctors is likely to be released within the next few days.

But if this list is delayed by a week, the department may face problems. As per the new amendment, the new conditions will apply to doctors appointed after December 1, 2010.

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