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Bihar doctors resent govt threat to jail them
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | December 16, 2005 13:36 IST
Bihar's doctors are up in arms against the threat of the new state government, led by Nitish Kumar, that doctors will be jailed if found absent from duty.
The state branch of the Indian Medical Association has strongly resented the government move to invoke the Bihar Prevention of Specified Corrupt Practices Act 1983 to take strict action against the government doctors.
IMA honorary secretary Dr Sachidanand Kumar criticised the health secretary's statement that medical officers will be jailed if found absent ."It was a threat to doctors without doing anything to strengthen the health structure," he said.
The state government in a bid to check truant medical officers and other staff of government hospitals, has decided to invoke the Bihar Prevention of Specified Corrupt Practices Act 1983 for the first time after its enactment, which threatens to take legal action, including the registration of first information reports for criminal negligence of duty against errant officials.
Kumar wondered why the government makes the doctors scapegoat for poor health care system in the state. "It is for the new government to strengthen it, not to issue threat to us," he told rediff.com.
State Health and Medical Education Minister Chandra Mohan Rai said the BPSCP Act 1983 came into force on Tuesday after a decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting with officials of his department.
The act was enacted in 1983, he said adding, it would come in handy to force 'slack' medical officers to be present at government hospital and health centres during duty hours and also effectively deal with the truant doctors doing private practice during duty hours.
Rai said public notices were being issued in this regard to warn the doctors and other staff against violation of the act.
Under Section 16 of the BPSCP Act, any government doctor or other staff found absent from duty or charging money for medicines to be provided to the patients free of cost at government hospitals and health centres, would face imprisonment (simple or rigorous) up to one year with fine, or both.