Medical bodies debate retirement age of doctors
To fulfill the shortage of doctors in the healthcare sector across the country, prime minister Narendra Modi recently announced that the age of retirement of government doctors would be raised to 65 years, and this has sparked a debate between the Maharashtra State Medical Teacher Association ( MSMTA) and senior officials from the Directorate of Medical Education and Research ( DMER).
MSMTA, a body of medical teachers from state- run medical colleges, has been opposing this decision. It feels that this is not the best solution to solve the manpower issue involving doctors.
Every state government has a right to maintain the bar on the re- tirement age of doctors, but they cannot exceed the age norms set by the Medical Council of India ( MCI). In Maharashtra, the state medical education department has allowed the retirement age for state and civic- run medical college teachers to be set at 64 years.
On Thursday, while addressing a rally at Uttar Pradesh, Modi said that there is a need for more doctors across the country, but it had not been possible to fill this gap in the two years of his government. His cabinet will take a decision in this regard and the retirement age of government doctors would be made 65 years, he said.
But Dr Eknath Pawar, president, MSMTA, said: “This is not a solution for solving the manpower issue. We are in complete opposition to this government decision. We have a different demand from the state government — temporary lecturers should be regularised and time- bound promotion and timebound pay scale should be given to teachers. If the government wants to appoint these teachers, they can appoint them after retirement, but increasing the age of teachers eve- ry time is not a good idea.”
According to MCI, there are 398 medical colleges across the country with more than 52,000 MBBS seats.
Dr Pravin Shingare, director, DMER, said: “We had already given a proposal to the state medical education department to increase the age of retirement of medical teach- ers to 65. But our medical teachers’ association had opposed the move. We have a plan to start two new medical colleges in Gondiya and Chandrapur, where we need teaching staff. Hence, we want to raise the retirement age of medical teachers.”
When medical teachers retire, it affects the number of medical seats to be maintained. To maintain an adequate ratio, the state governments increase the retirement age of teachers. National co- convenor of the Jan Sawasthya Abhiyan, Dr Abhay Shukla, said: “I think the government needs to focus on infrastructure instead of the age of doctors. They have to concentrate on the working condition of hospitals. They should provide enough medicine and good equipment that would help poor patients.”