The West Bengal government today claimed before the Calcutta High Court that 37 rural health centres of the state would have to be closed down if it had to release 10 per cent of the MBBS doctors for post-graduate courses as those facilities had only one doctor each.
Opposing the plea, the counsel for MBBS doctors who want to pursue higher studies submitted that there was a huge dearth of specialist doctors at the state-run facilities in West Bengal and that it was for the benefit of the patients that more doctors were allowed to study MD/MS courses.
The doctors' counsel, Pratik Dhar, claimed before a division bench of justices Debasish Kargupta and Sampa Sarkar that the state-run hospitals in West Bengal had only 117 MD/MS doctors against a requirement of 1,700 post-graduate doctors.
He submitted that there were 349 community health centres in the state and as per stipulation, each should have at least five specialist doctors.
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the state government, challenging a State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) order that said it had to release 10 per cent of the available doctors working at various government-run hospitals in the state for post-graduate courses.
The hearing in the matter was concluded today and the order was reserved by the bench.
Appearing for the state, counsel Amitesh Banerjee submitted that rural healthcare services in the state would be in jeopardy if 10 per cent of the available MBBS doctors were allowed to go for higher studies as 37 rural health centres had only one doctor each, while 23 others had two each.
He told the court that 180 seats were available for post-graduate courses in the medical colleges of the state for 2018 and the names of 196 candidates were released as per the merit list, with a waiting list of 16 candidates.
Challenging the list, 105 in-service doctors, whose names appeared in the merit list after the said 196 names, had moved the SAT.
With the SAT having ordered that 10 per cent of the available MBBS doctors working at the state-run healthcare facilities be allowed to pursue higher studies, the government moved the appeal before the high court.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)