KOHIMA: Government doctors in Nagaland receiving non-practising allowance (NPA) have been asked to halt their private practice within a month. This was decided by the Health and Family Welfare Department after a slew of meeting with the Nagaland Medical Council, Commissioner and Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department, Y Kikheto Sema, announced during a press meet in Kohima on August 1. Sema also added that the decision is in line with the Lokayukta’s directive to the department in March.
He further added that private practice by government doctors and the NPA are governed by notifications issued periodically by the Finance Department in March 2010, HFW in September 2011, the Nagaland Health Care Establishment Act, 1997, but these guidelines have not been consistently adhered to as observed in many instances.
To address this issue, the government has issued an office memorandum directing health care service providers and private hospitals and clinics engaging government doctors in this regard, he said.
In-service government doctors receiving NPA must stop private practice within one month or forfeit their NPA. On the other hand, in-service government doctors not availing of NPA may offer private consultations and services to needy patients, but only with prior approval from the competent authority, limited to non-working hours, the health secretary informed.
Furthermore, Sema ordered all private hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes to discontinue employing in-service government doctors, nurses, technicians, and health workers within the next month. Non-compliance with this directive could lead to the cancellation of their licenses, he warned.
Nagaland currently spends around Rs 9 crore annually on NPA for government health care service providers and the Lokayukta has identified 51 government doctors engaging in private practices. The hope is that the latest notification will encourage them to either give up the benefit or refrain from private practices.
The government has also observed irregularities in the posting of some in-service government doctors and health workers, negatively impacting the health care delivery system in their respective health units. To address this concern, it has been reiterated that absence from the place of posting without proper leave permissions may lead to action under the Nagaland Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1968, and the Nagaland Services (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1967.
This decision is aimed at providing improved and affordable health services to citizens, particularly in the far-flung rural areas of the state.