To halt the migration of doctors from state-run hospitals to the private sector, the Odisha Government has approved new incentives for medical professionals of the Odisha Medical Services Cadre.
Doctors with qualifications higher than a postgraduate degree will get an incentive of Rs 30,000 per month and, similarly, doctors with postgraduate degrees will get a monthly incentive of Rs 20,000, while those with postgraduate diploma will get Rs10,000.
'These incentives will be over and above the previously announced benefits,' a state government official said. The government provides more salary to those posted in the backward districts. These new incentives are not linked to any post and are purely based on qualification, said a press release issued by the Chief Minister's office.
A senior state health department official said: 'There are many doctors with higher qualifications and postgraduate degrees. As we don't have super-speciality posts, they are being deprived of the right kind of incentives.'
Last year, 39 government medical officers had left their jobs and of them, nine were from SCB Medical College and Hospital, two from MKCG, Berhampur, and four from VSS Medical College, Burla. They left the services because they got better remuneration in the private sector and elsewhere.
The new incentives are likely to benefit 23 super-specialists and 1,171 postgraduate doctors working with the government.
The President of Odisha Medical Service Association, Mr. Nirkar Bhatt, said: 'This is certainly a welcome step, but it will not address the basic issue of shortage of doctors in the state. The government should declare some incentives at every level and the incentives should be included in their grade pay.'
At present the sanctioned strength of doctors in the state was 6,641 doctors and 3,234 posts were lying vacant. The highest number of vacancy of doctors has been reported from Ganjam, the Chief Minister, Mr. Navin Patnaik's s home district, followed by Mayurbhanj.