Tuesday, April 20

Amid Covid-19 crisis, 198 doctors face absenteeism heat in Bihar

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Around 198 doctors are in the dock for absenteeism when Bihar has cancelled leaves of health personnel till April 30 in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The health department issued show-cause notices to 76 doctors, absent from duty on March 31, while it was in the process of issuing notices to another 122 who were absent on April 1 and 2, said officials on Monday.

The doctors have been given three days’ time to respond to the show-cause notice.

Among the doctors facing the heat are 40 regular and remaining contractual. They also include doctors appointed on contract under the National Health Mission (NHM) and those practising indigenous medicine (Ayush) under the Rashtriya Bal Suraksha Karyakram.

The state health department had on March 13 issued an order, cancelling leaves, except study and maternity leaves, of health care personnel till March 31 in the view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The department on Sunday issued an order extending the embargo on leaves till April 30.

“We have issued show-cause notices to 76 doctors who were absent from duty on March 31, when the government has cancelled leaves of all health care personnel till April 30. They have been given three days’ time to respond to the show-cause notice as to why they should not proceed against relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” said Sanjay Kumar, Bihar’s health principal secretary.

The government could initiate departmental proceedings if the response of the doctors was not satisfactory.

The State Health Society, Bihar, (SHSB) had on March 31 carried out the monitoring by calling up the doctors on landline numbers at their designated place of posting. Many of the doctors in the dock are those posted at district hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals, primary health centres and additional primary health centres, said a health department official.

On March 17, Bihar enforced the Epidemic Diseases, Covid-19 Regulation 2020, which was invoked under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 (Central Act 3 of 1897).