Shimla, May 25
The state government today issued a notification withdrawing the grant of non-practising allowance (NPA) to doctors to be recruited in near future.
The issue was discussed at the last Cabinet meeting and a decision was taken to withdraw the NPA facility to doctors to be appointed in future. However, the decision would not be applicable to doctors in service and would be enforced prospectively.
As per the notification issued by the Department of Finance, the decision would apply not only to allopathic doctors recruited by the Health and Family Welfare Department and the Medical Education Department but also to dental, Ayurveda and veterinary doctors.
The government has taken the decision after partially modifying earlier notifications issued in 2022. However, the notification does not clarify whether doctors, who will be recruited in future, can go for private practice.
In the past also, the doctors had opposed the government decision to reduce the NPA from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. Sources said that the NPA withdrawal for future doctors in five categories would reduce the huge salary burden.
Meanwhile, the Himachal Medical Officers Association, in a press note issued here, opposed the government decision. “The decision is not only anti-doctors but also anti-people. If doctors start private practice in the absence of the NPA, not only out-of-pocket expenses of patients will increase but also the foundation of the entire health system will shake up,” it said.
The association said, “Himachal ranks among the best in the country in terms of health services because doctors get the NPA. In states where the NPA is not given, health services are quite poor.” It urged the government not to stop the NPA and discuss the issue with doctors.
The association asked the government to restore the 4-9-14 scheme for assured career progression, as it takes around 25 to 30 years for a medical officer to become block medical officer. Besides, the association said that posts in the Health Department be filled only from among MBBS doctors and not from officials of other departments.
No clarity on private practice
- The decision will apply not only to allopathic doctors recruited by the Health and Family Welfare Department and the Medical Education Department but also to dental, Ayurveda and veterinary doctors
- Medical officers’ association opposes government decision, says health services will be affected
- The notification does not clarify whether doctors, who will be recruited in future, can go for private practice
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