As many as 507 doctors working on contract under the Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department have threatened to resign on Wednesday as their services have not been regularised and the issue of pay disparity has not been addressed, they said.
However, due to the current situation of COVID-19, they will continue to serve patients.
While regularised doctors get a starting monthly salary of Rs 80,000, they are getting only Rs 45,000. Incidentally new contract staff who have been recruited after the onset of the pandemic get Rs 60,000 per month.
These doctors claim absorption of doctors appointed on contract basis to government service has not taken place, even though it is legally mandated to do so.
They cited the Karnataka Directorate of Health and Family Welfare Services Special Rules, notified in 2002, which dictates that after three years of service in rural areas, these doctors should be absorbed into government service.
They say the move to resign came after repeated petitions by the Contract Doctorsâ€™ Association of Karnataka (CDAK) to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Health MInister B Sriramulu have failed to make a difference.
The Hindu reported that association members across districts in the state will reach Bengaluru to jointly submit their resignations to the CM and Health Minister.
These contract doctors are usually appointed in primary health centres. In wake of the pandemic, they have been deputed to district hospitals.
Deccan Herald quoted a letter by the association to the CM which stated that there is currently a 30% vacancy in posts in government hospitals in the state and while these contract doctors can fill up the vacancies by doing the same work, there is a huge pay disparity.
The Hindu quoted another doctor who said that while more than 2,000 doctors from 2002 to 2016 have been regularised, there has been no such recent regularisation by the Health Department.