High Court Demands Response from State Government on Government Doctors Working in Private Hospitals

In a significant development that has raised concerns about the state of healthcare services, the Orissa High Court has called upon the state government to provide a clarification regarding government doctors who are reportedly working in private hospitals. This inquiry comes in the wake of a public interest litigation filed in the court, highlighting the practice of doctors employed in state-run hospitals taking up positions in private healthcare facilities.

The petition, which has been accepted for consideration by the High Court, argues that this trend not only undermines the quality of care available in government hospitals but also places undue pressure on patients, particularly the economically disadvantaged, who are often compelled to seek treatment in more expensive private institutions. The situation has reportedly led to some patients having to sell their possessions, including land and jewelry, to afford medical care.

During a recent hearing, presided over by Chief Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Shiv Shankar Mishra, the court took cognizance of the petitioner’s arguments and issued a directive to the state government to respond within the next four weeks. The case, filed by social worker Narayan Chandra Jena, points to a growing concern over the migration of government doctors to private practice, driven by the lure of higher earnings, often at the expense of their duties in public hospitals.

The petitioner’s plea highlights a disturbing trend where government doctors are absent from their posts during crucial hours, choosing instead to attend to patients in private facilities. This practice not only compromises the availability of medical care for those reliant on government hospitals but also exacerbates the already deteriorating conditions within these public institutions.

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In light of these allegations, the petition calls for the enactment of specific laws or policies to prohibit government doctors from engaging in private practice, thereby ensuring their commitment to their primary roles in public healthcare facilities. The case, which involves key figures from the state’s Health and Family Welfare Department, including the Secretary and the Director of Health, is set to undergo further examination, with the next hearing scheduled for May 6.

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