Saturday, December 10, 2022

Contract doctors rejoinder to NMSA’s statement

Drawing attention to the statement by Nagaland Medical Students’ Association (NMSA) Hq Imphal vis-à-vis Health & Family Welfare department special recruitment drive for contractual doctors appointed during Covid pandemic, the State Contract Doctors (SCD) appointed during Covid-19 pandemic reminded NMSA of the Central government’s May 3, 2021 order, clause No 17 under the section “Incentives and Recognition of Service” (for covid duties).
In a press note, SCD convenor and co-convenor pointed out that the order clearly mentioned the discretionary powers bestowed on the State Governments “to consider giving preference in regular Government appointments of health Professionals through the respective Public Service Commissions/other recruiting bodies for those Health professionals under this special scheme, who complete a minimum of 100 days of Covid related duty.”
It also reminded NMSA of the July 5, 2020 state govt order wherein clause No 2 assured a “Special NPSC recruitment drive for all post coming under the purview of NPSC” for the health care workers for their services rendered in the Covid Pandemic.
While appreciating NMSA’s stand for meritocracy, SCD put on record that even during the contractual recruitment for covid duty, due procedure for merit was accorded through several stages of screening, and interview tests were conducted.
They said that it was not a case of random selection as many experienced doctors under NHM, NSACS, NHAK, who had applied, were also recruited for covid duty as they were assured a special recruitment drive for regularization.
Even though the contractual doctors had the choice to resign and stay in the safety of their homes during the peak of the Covid pandemic, SCD, however, said that they chose to respond to the call of duty not only because the government and the people needed them, but also because it was the right thing to do as responsible citizens.
Despite knowing high-risk factor, testing suspected Covid cases and taking care of Covid patients at hospitals, they said some of the doctors had also contracted the Covid virus, not just once but several times, and treated themselves in quiet solitude only to return to duty after recovering.
Reminding NMSA that health was a state Subject, SCD said if NMSA, “that had chosen to remain a mute spectator and remained silent during the peak of the pandemic, but now believes that the covid duty ‘incentive and recognition of service’ of Manipur State ought to be followed and applied to Nagaland by the same yardstick, then that would undermine the authority of the Nagaland State government.”
It also said that the allegation of NMSA that medical graduates and students would not be able not sit for NPSC exams in another 10-15 years, is not only blatantly false, but misleading.
SCD said vacancies would arise as senior doctors in regular service retire every few months and every year, whose vacancy would automatically be available for recruitment through NPSC again.
It also asked NMSA to not get unduly perturbed, since special considerations with regard to age relaxations were made for all aspirants in all discipline and the special considerations ought not to become a precedent as feared by NMSA since the Covid exigency was necessitated due to the extraordinary circumstances requiring extraordinary measures.
SCD said “no amount of special recruitment drive will justify the sacrifices the doctors made by putting their life on the line when everybody dreaded the scourge of the pandemic.”
The doctors said a special consideration, through a special recruitment drive, as promised by the government was the very least the latter could do to recompense for the ordeal they were subjected to.
Further, SCD said for NMSA to allege that the state health system was already in a deplorable and pitiable condition and “to give direction to the government authority to immediately review its decision and issue fresh order is not only condescending but smacks of impertinence with misplaced sense of importance and authority.”
It went on to state that berating experienced doctors who have several years of experience through NHM, NSACS, NHAK etc, by stating that their recruitment through a special consideration promised to them during the time of Covid pandemic for their selfless service would dilute the health care system, and that the budding doctors would provide ‘the best health care services’ for citizens to enjoy, was not only preposterous, but self righteous.

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