Kerala: Doctors' resignation hits work at Regional Cancer Centre

The functioning of Regional Cancer Centre has been hit with the dramatic resignations of four top doctors.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The functioning of Regional Cancer Centre has been hit with the dramatic resignations of four top doctors, including the superintendent. The resignations were the result of what the ‘rebel’ doctors term the unilateral move of the health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan and RCC director Dr Paul Sebastian to prohibit clinical oncologists from carrying out radiotherapy.

Apart from the medical superintendent Dr K. Ramadas, the other senior doctors who have put down their papers include Dr Aswin Kumar, deputy superintendent, Prof (Dr) K. Ratheesan, Head of the Department and Dr Beela Sarah Mathew, additional professor. But the team of radiotherapy doctors did not fail in their duties on Monday and examined all the patients. The reason for the doctor’s disapproval was that all of a sudden the system being practiced at RCC for more than five decades has suddenly been changed by the health secretary and RCC director.

Dr P.S. Sabarinath, a member of the oncology association at RCC told this newspaper that the order was initiated by Dr Paul Sebastian discreetly on December 30 without holding any talks with them.

“The new decision to prohibit clinical oncologists from carrying out radio therapy has been unwarranted. We have been professionally humiliated. When a health policy is being prepared by an expert committee comprising Dr B. Ekbal and Dr K.P. Aravindan, the state government hurriedly came out with an order against the interests of the radiotherapy doctors,” said Dr Sabarianth who is also a senate member of the Kerala University of Health Sciences.

There have been two policy decisions on oncology that has not gone down well with the radiotherapy doctors at RCC. The first one was the health minister K.K. Shylaja announcing that 50 posts for oncologists would be created in the government sector. Doctors at RCC clarified that the health minister was misled by the department officials that there are no oncologists in the government medical colleges. The second policy decision was taken by the RCC director on December 30 after the office time to prohibit clinical oncologists from carrying out radiotherapy.

“It was humiliating when the health secretary said on Monday that we don’t know how to give chemotherapy to patients. In a way it would lessen our job, but that will not help the patients. In fact there is no such specialisation like radio oncology in the country which the RCC has fixed a nomenclature for now,” added Dr Sabarinath. However, Rajeev Sadanandan maintained that new cancer treatment procedures can be formed which has been implemented in RCC as well. “Chemotherapy cannot be given to cancer patients by doctors other than medical oncologists. The government will not go back from its stand,” said Rajeev Sadanandan.

Doctors belonging to the radiotherapy department at RCC are firm in their stand that the old system of cancer care initiated by RCC founder director Dr M. Krishnan Nair on the lines of UK cancer care has to be brought back. However, they have decided not to put the hordes of cancer patients into trouble and will give chemotherapy. But this will not help the scores of patients who throng the RCC everyday. The Kerala High Court had ruled on November 10 last year that within five months a nomenclature has to be brought in where Radiology MD doctors have to be renamed as clinical oncologists.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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