Govt docs may face pvt practice ban

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Jul 19, 2014-

The government is considering barring the doctors in state-run hospitals from working in private hospitals and clinics. To that end, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) plans to introduce a mandatory policy to conduct extended outpatient service in government hospitals to keep the doctors engaged. Bir Hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Civil Service Hospital, among others, are already running extended outpatient services.  

“The plan is to make doctor’s service available in all government hospitals across the country,” says Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, joint secretary at the MoHP.

To encourage the doctors to practise their profession in state-run hospitals, the government plans to introduce various incentive schemes. This year’s budget, for example, has announced non-practice allowance for government doctors working in rural areas. “The government plans to introduce the non-practice allowance programme for state-run hospitals in the city areas in the future,” says Adhikari.   

According to him, the current focus of the government is launching extended outpatient services in all state-run hospitals. The space for the service will be provided by the hospital management committee, and the service fees will be determined in consultation with the doctors.

The government’s plan has not gone down well with some of the doctors. “This isn’t the first time of such prohibition,” says Dr Bhola Rijal, chairman of Om Hospital.    

In 1991, Dr Rijal and nine other doctors at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital had quit their jobs when the state enforced a ban on government doctors from working in private facilities. The prohibition was lifted in 2000 as the government was haemorrhaging a large sum of money while paying non-practice allowance.   “

“Doctors have the right to conduct private practice,” says Dr Rijal. “After the doctors are done with their government hospital duty, they should be allowed to practise whereever they please. This does not mean that they should skip their job and go see patients in private clinics or hospitals.”

Retired senior pediatrician Dr Ramesh Kanta Adhikari, however, believes that the non-practice allowance can attract doctors to go work in rural areas, where public needs health professionals the most. “There should be a strict mechanism to implement and monitor the regulation. If the government paid the docotrs handsomely, I don’t see why they will not go work in rural corners of the country,” says Dr Adhikari.

Published: 20-07-2014 08:41

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