Hyderabad: Dr. Ravi completed his MD in pharmacology in 2021. Since then, he has been waiting for the government notification regarding vacancies for assistant professors. "I wished I could teach and make better doctors," said Dr. Ravi. But his dream was never fulfilled.
In fact, Dr. Ravi was surprised to see that pharmacology was not even listed in the notification released by the TS government on 6 December. Pharmacology is one of the six departments that was left out of the notification.
Telangana health minister Harish Rao shared the details of the vacancies and tweeted, "It's raining jobs in Health, Medical, and Family Welfare Department."
Responding to this notification, Health Reforms Doctors Association (HRDA) wrote that there are more vacant posts for assistant professors in the state and they need to be filled. On 7 December, HRDA wrote to Syed Ali Rizvi, chairman of the Medical Health Services Recruitment Board (MHSRB), urging him to fill all the 1,194 vacant posts for assistant professors in Telangana.
In the recent notification by MHSRB issued on 6 December, vacancies for only 1,147 posts were listed. Dr. Mahesh Kumar, HRDA president, mentioned in the letter that vacancies in some of the departments, including pharmacology, clinical pharmacology, neonatology, pain and palliative care, surgical oncology, and gynaec oncology, were missing. He said that the finance department of the government of Telangana had accorded permission for the recruitment of 1,194 assistant professor posts.
"The finance department accorded financial support for 1,194 vacancies in March 2022. There has been a delay in the issue of notification by MHSRB and the government is citing various reasons for the same. But why are the 47 posts missing? If there were any issues, it should have been sorted out earlier," said Dr. Mahesh.
Further, he added that the departments that were left out were crucial ones. "For instance, departments like surgical oncology teach how to treat cancer patients and neonatology is also important as newborn babies suffer a lot of issues. So, why are these important branches left out?" asked Dr. Mahesh.
No recruitment means more burden on existing APs
No recruitment in these departments also suggests that the existing assistant professors are burdened by the amount of work that they have on their plate. "They are not filling posts because they wanted to make it fully autonomous," said one of the faculty members at MNJ Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Centre.
According to sources, this is the only government, full-fledged hospital for cancer treatment. The institute caters to not just patients from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh but also people from Karnataka, Maharashtra, and other far-off states.
Sources at the hospital said that because of lack of recruitment, the existing staff are burdened. "On an average, an oncologist has to see around 12,000 cases a year and perform around 200-250 surgeries. There are also some departments like gynaecology and medical oncology where all the posts are vacant. Because of lack of staff, the patients have to wait for a longer time to get treatment," said one doctor who wished to remain anonymous.
No recruitment means quality of education goes down
Lack of recruitment also has a larger impact on the quality of education—no faculty, less confident students. "According to National Medical Commission's norms, the government has to follow certain guidelines to run a medical college. But in many government medical colleges in the state, there is a shortage of assistant professors. This results in less confident students," said Dr. Ravi.
Further, expressing his surprise over pharmacology being left out of the list, Dr. Ravi said, "Pharmacology is a basic subject and is taught in the second year of MBBS. Every doctor, irrespective of their specializations, is supposed to know how a particular drug works."