With the Madhya Pradesh government set to move a controversial proposal to appoint a bureaucrat as the supreme authority in all state-run medical colleges on Tuesday, the medical fraternity in the state has unanimously opposed the move and threatened to shut down medical services.
The medical fraternity led by the medical teachers’ association of Gandhi Medical College in Bhopal said the government has decided to bring the proposal through backdoor and get it approved without consulting the doctors and medical professionals.
To put pressure on the government, the medical fraternity has warned that it will hold an indefinite state-wide protest if the state Cabinet passes the proposal on Tuesday.
Importantly, medical services in all government-run hospitals in Madhya Pradesh are likely to be suspended, as the medical fraternity has warned that it will hold protests from Tuesday morning onwards.
Medical teachers along with students and representatives of several other associations assembled at the Gandhi Medical College on Monday and took an unanimous decision to oppose the move.
This is not the first time when the medical fraternity and the administration have come face to face on this particular issue, as this is the third attempt by the state government to place the controversial proposal before the Cabinet.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government had placed this proposal before the Cabinet first in November 2021, but an unanimous objection by the medical fraternity had prompted the government to hold it back.
The proposal was again placed before the Cabinet in July this year, but it could not be passed.
A major controversy on this issue broke out in August after a senior IAS officer was appointed as medical commissioner over dean at Sagar Medical College, which was opposed by the medical fraternity and a huge protest was staged by the teachers and medical students.
The relentless protest by the teachers and medical students had then forced the state government to cancel the appointment.
“The government justifies the move by claiming that the step is being taken to reduce the burden of the doctors as the administrative officer will look after all the administrative issues so that the doctors could focus entirely on their patients.
“How can a non-medical person tell which equipment or which medicine needs to be procured for the patients? Only a doctor can make these decisions. We are unable to understand why our own government is trying to kill our medical system.
“But we will not let it happen, and if needed, we will go on strike and all medical services, including emergency services, would be suspended from Tuesday onwards,” said Rakesh Malvia, president of medical teachers’ association of Gandhi Medical College.
The medical fraternity has alleged that it is the bureaucrats’ lobby that is forcing the government to introduce this system.
“There is already an administrative officer associated with the system, so why should another administrative officer be enrolled? It is an attack on the medical system… The bureaucrats want to turn the medical colleges into other government institutions. It would be a suicidal attempt if the new system is introduced,” said Suresh Kumar, a doctor based out of Bhopal.
Meanwhile, the opposition has also extended its support to the medical fraternity, saying the government should hold a discussion on this matter before taking any decision.
“The medical fraternity is threatening to go on strike. The condition of health facilities in the state is already bad. In such a situation, the state government should consider their demands in the interest of the general public,” said former Chief Minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath.