In order to encourage more doctors to work in remote areas, the state government has launched a scheme through which these specialists will be paid additionally for every treated or examined case, besides their regular base salary.
Facing a severe shortage of specialists, the public health department is inviting gynaecologists, paediatricians and anaesthetists for recruitment in about 65 centres across 15 districts, which includes rural, sub-district and district hospitals.
They aim to hire 500 doctors, who would need to run outpatient clinics, take ward rounds and be available for emergency calls during duty hours six days a week. Optionally, the doctors can also choose to offer emergency services only.
With this scheme, it is reported that a gynaecologist or a paediatrician will be able earn close to ₹2 lakh in a month.
However, the scheme is separate from the mandatory rural service that every graduating doctor has to make.
Adhering to the proportion of remoteness and difficulty in delivering services, the implementation of the scheme has been divided into three grades (A, B and C). According to TOI, a gynaecologist joining grade A centre will be given a base salary of ₹70,000 while those joining grade B and C centres would be paid ₹60,000 and ₹50,000 respectively.
Paediatricians will be remunerated with base salaries of ₹1 lakh, ₹85,000 and ₹75,000 at grades A, B and C respectively and anaesthetists would be able to earn ₹4,000 per case, regardless of whether the surgery is of major or minor difficulty.
Apart from rate gradation, the state has also assigned varying amounts for every critical service offered. For example, a gynaecologist will be entitled to ₹4,000 for every C-section or complicated surgery, ₹1,500 for assisted delivery and ₹400 for every two ultrasound investigations while a paediatrician will be paid an amount of ₹2,000 for attending to a newborn emergency.
The situation in Maharashtra is quite dire, with particular requirement being in tribal regions. While overall vacancy of specialists stands at 40 per cent, it is the crucial department like anaesthesiology that is quite depressing.
“In certain areas, the vacancy among anaesthetists is around 70 per cent, while that of paediatricians and gynaecologists is 40 to 50 per cent,” said Dr Satish Pawar, head of Directorate of Health Services (DHS).
Reportedly, out of 7,232 posts sanctioned by public health department, nearly 1,200 lie vacant and unfilled. Dr Pawar mentions that the scheme focuses on limited to worse areas as of now, where despite basic health infrastructure being available, most doctors remain disinclined to work.
Areas like Hingoli, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Amravati, Yavatmal, Dhule, Kolhapur, Solapur, Sangli, Satara, Thane and Palghar have been identified under the scheme.
As per Dr Sanjeev Kumar, who is the commissioner of National Health Mission (NHM), the authorities are also open to different rate structures, if doctors are willing to pitch their ideas with the district committee.
“The bottom-line is the remuneration is performance-linked. If a gynaecologist manages to perform 30-40 caesarean sections a month, he/she will easily take home a monthly package of ₹2 lakh,” he said.