Chennai: Madras high court has held that doctors, who acquired specialty degrees and qualifications, at the cost of public and by providing certain undertakings, are bound to serve the public.
Dismissing a petition from Dr. Silamban, which sought a direction to the Madras Medical College to accept his resignation, Justice S.M. Subramaniam gave the above ruling.
The judge said medical profession being commercialized by day, doctors are also neglecting the responsibility to provide quality medical treatment. Medical profession is now commercialized to the larger extent, and privatization is inevitable.
"This court is of an opinion that no one is questioning the decision of a doctor to develop their private practice. However, the doctors have to take a decision before entering into the public services and before undergoing the specialty courses at the cost of the tax payers' money.
When the doctors had undergone the specialty courses or PG courses, at the cost of the taxpayers' money and by providing an undertaking and after gaining experience from GHs they are bound to serve for the public and they have to show devotion to their duty as medical professionals", the judge added.
The judge said contrarily if the doctors were allowed to escape from public duty, then "this court is of an undoubted opinion that, we are not adhering to the constitutional principles and ethos. These doctors must be made to work in the public hospitals in view of the fact that they had not only given undertaking at the time of undergoing the specialty courses and PG courses, at the cost of the public money and gained experience from the government hospitals.
The judge said apart from the corrupt practices in the government hospitals, it was painful to pen down that the doctors themselves were irregular in attending duty, resulting death of patients, who all were not in a position to afford quality treatment from corporate hospitals. The situation results in denial of social justice and equal treatment.
Economic condition of a citizen cannot be a ground for denial of quality treatment.
Thus, the government was duty bound to ensure cleanliness, availability of doctors including special treatment, paramedical staff, supporting staff, which all were imminent and a constitutional mandate, the judge added.
The judge said frequent complaints were noticed across the state that the government doctors were developing their private practice by neglecting the public duty. It was a misconduct both under the government service rules and under the Medical Council of India regulations.
The judge directed the authorities to initiate all appropriate actions against the petitioner under the TN Civil Services (Discipline and appeal) Rules.
Authorities were directed to lodge a complaint with the MCI regarding the misconduct enabling the MCI to institute appropriate proceedings. Health and family welfare secretary was directed to constitute a "monitoring committee" to supervise the attendance and assess the performance of government doctors as well as regarding the maintenance of government medical hospitals as per the prescribed standards.
The authorities were directed to recover adequate compensation from the government doctors, who all were violating the terms of services with reference to the expenditure met out from the public money for acquiring PG degrees and specialty degrees, the judge added....