Isn't it awkward that a government doctor treats his patients at a private hospital? Well, it isn't often that a government doctor gets to treat his boss in a private hospital where he is not supposed to be at all.
But that happened in Mohali town, adjoining Chandigarh Thursday, when Punjab's chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) for health and family welfare, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, caught a government doctor treating her.
Sidhu, who is the wife of cricketer-turned politician and Amritsar MP Navjot Sidhu, went to a private hospital, Amar Hospital - a super-specialty and heart centre - in Mohali's Sector 70 as a decoy patient.
Getting herself registered under a fake name, Nafiza, Sidhu complained of abdomen pain and sought emergency care.
"Dr. Sameer Kaushal, who is posted at the community health centre, village Kohrian, in district Sangrur as a government doctor, examined me wherein the press (electronic and print media) caught him on camera examining me lying on the emergency bed," said Sidhu, who is herself a doctor and the BJP legislator from Amritsar-east assembly seat.
She said that she got an OPD slip made at the private hospital by paying a fee of Rs.250.
"On the main board at the entry of the hospital, the name of Dr. Sameer Kaushal was displayed at the top of the list as chief medical officer with official timings displayed as Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
"It is a shame that he is practicing privately in spite of being in government service. He visits his place of posting only once in one or two months and puts his attendance on the register despite his absence," Sidhu said.
Sidhu said that she went in for the sting operation on the doctor to see for herself how Punjab's government doctors were openly doing private practice at other places even while serving in government records.
She said that she had got a complaint against Kaushal's absence from the health centre, where he was posted, for months together.
Sangrur district is about 150 km from here.
Sidhu had asked the Sangrur civil surgeon to enquire about Kaushal earlier this month but had failed to get a report.
"I decided to check the centre myself," she said.
The CPS sent a report of the incident to Punjab Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal, and sought suspension of the concerned doctor.