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    Government has permitted walk-in interviews for MBBS and Ayush Graduates

    BENGALURU: Battling the severe shortage of doctors and nurses in state-run hospitals and Primary Health Centres (PHCs), the Karnataka government has permitted walk-in interviews for MBBS graduates and those from ayurveda, homeopathy
    and other disciplines. It has also given private specialists the option of working as 'doctors on call' in government hospitals.

    A government circular issued recently authorised the committee headed by the deputy commissioner comprising the district health officer, zilla panchayat CEO and civil surgeon to make quick selections through walk-in interviews and Ayush (ayurveda, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) graduates can apply, along with MBBS graduates, for the post of medical officers at PHCs and rural hospitals.
    Each district will advertise vacancies and invite applications. "Each district's deputy commissioner has been authorised to finish the recruitment based on requirement to overcome the immediate shortage. The process to fill vacant posts will be taken up shortly,'' health and family welfare minister K.R.Ramesh Kumar said.

    According to government data, 1,901 posts of doctors and 1,595 posts of nurses are currently vacant in hospitals and PHCs which cater to about 5 lakh out-patients on an average every day. The reasons for vacancies include promotion, retirement, resignation, termination of service, creation of new posts, death, non-availability of suitable candidates and low rate of joining at lower levels.

    To fill specialist and super-specialist posts, Kumar said the finance department has given its approval and the Karnataka Public Service Commission(KPSC) will invite applications soon.

    A senior officer of the health and family welfare department said the aim of providing quality healthcare to the common man has been severely hit by an acute shortage of doctors and nurses and hit the functioning of dialysis and burn units, cardiology and general medicine departments in almost all government hospitals.

    Kumar said one of the main reasons for high vacancies in government hospitals was because post-graduate medicos refused to work in taluk-level hospitals despite the state's offer to pay them Rs 1.25 lakh per month.

    When the state government notified rules making one-year rural service mandatory for medical students in July 2015, he said this would resolve the problem of doctors' shortage. But three months after the notification, students obtained a stay from the Karnataka High Court. Kumar said the department hired about 412 doctors on contract and was also trying to get the court stay vacated.

    B.C.Harish, a doctor who quit after working at a PHC in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu district said young doctors refused work in rural areas because of poor pay scales compared to private hospitals, no residential facilities, lack of safety and no clear policy on promotion or transfer.

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