Nearly 700 government doctors in Patna have faced transfers during the end of June 2008, and many of them were quite unexpected. Some of the doctors had also mentioned preferred postings in their transfer requests, which appears to have been ignored. Nearly 42 doctors from the transferred lot are from medical colleges.
"We are getting 30 to 50 representations every day. The choices given by doctors were ignored," said Dr Ajay Kumar, convener, action committee, Bihar State Health Services Association (BSHSA).
Many of the doctors are taken aback by these transfers. Some of them attribute it to a computer error, a case of incorrect data producing incorrect results. Even the doctors who did not request for transfers have received transfer letters, strangely even mentioning their request.
Take the case of Dr Vishnu Kant Pandey, an assistant professor of surgery department and a specialist in laparoscopic surgery. Dr Pandey has received a transfer letter to move to Darbhanga Medical College, which does not support laparoscopic surgery. The proposed movement has also not take care of the requirements of PMCH, where the doctor is currently posted, which will have to function without a laparoscopic surgeon.
Some doctors have been moved out even before they completed five years while there were many who had completed even ten but continued to stay on without a transfer. These gross inconsistencies in the transfer policy have raised the ire of doctors.
Health minister Nand Kishore Yadav who promised to look into the issues said, "Doctors of only 13 districts have been transferred so far. We will transfer doctors of the remaining 25 districts this month. He also added that most doctors were asked for choice of transfer. We had asked them to give the choice of three districts. In the current round of transfers, we have ensured that 135 couples who are government servants are posted at the same place."
However he defended the government move by saying, "Doctors are government servants in transferable jobs."