The Gujarat government has relaxed bond conditions for doctors who joined super speciality courses in the academic year 2021-2022. This decision has been taken after reviewing the situation on shortage of trained medical specialists in the state.
Following this move, specialist doctors will now be required to serve the government for a tenure of only one year instead of three years. The government has also stated that their postings will be given in places well equipped with 14 Government and GMERS hospitals in the state. The confirmation regarding these changes came from the Government through a notification on April 2,2022.
Apart from these changes, the notification also stated that interested doctors will now have to submit a bank surety of only Rs 15 lakh of the total Rs 50 lakh bond. For the remaining amount, the doctors will be allowed to submit an affidavit. In case any doctor fail to submit the bond terms, they will be liable to pay only 25% of the bond amount.
Interestingly, these relaxations have come from the government at a time when the State is facing a huge shortage of specialists. The aim of executing bonds at every level of medical education is to ensure the availability of doctors.
The major features of the bond terms are as follows.
- The period of bond has been reduced from years to one year.
- As per the bond, now the doctors will be posted only at 14 Government and GMERS hospitals in Gujarat, instead of rural hospitals lacking infrastructure for super speciality.
- Of the total Rs 50 lakh bond amount, the doctors will have to submit the bank surety of only Rs 15 lakh. For the rest of the Rs 35 lakh amount, affidavits will be accepted.
- In case the doctors fail to serve the bond conditions, they will be liable to pay only 25% of the bond amount, instead of 50%.
- The bond terms further state that the University will issue provisional certificates after completion of the exams and the doctors will get their final documents only after serving the bond period.
Previously, the Medical Dialogues reported that the state government recently informed the Assembly that nearly 67% of MBBS doctors have skipped bond service duty in the last two years.
As per the government’s information, only 608 out of 1,879 MBBS doctors had reported for duty in 2020 and 2021. The government had to recover Rs 38.15 crore from those absent doctors as bond payments.
Even last year, the issue of bond service came to light after hundreds of doctors skipped their duties and government officers had directed that FIRs be filed against them. Many doctors then approached the High Court to seek relief.
In the last three years, 60 super specialty doctors from seven departments of BJ Medical College were required to serve three years of bond service, according to a media report. An exception was made only for three doctors from the Pediatric Department and 12 belonging to CVST.
Six major civil hospitals in Gujarat provide super specialty medical services including urology, cardiovascular thoracic surgery, neurosurgery, super specialty medical services, pediatric surgery, burns and plastic surgery, gastroenterology, and neurology.
According to some reports, 37 positions of super-specialty doctors or medical teachers at those hospitals were vacant until March 14, 2022. Nine vacancies are in urology, eight in CVTS, seven each in pediatric surgery and neurology, four in neurosurgery, and two in plastic and reconstructive.