Govt to recruit 2,000 more doctors; process ambiguous

Health ministry wants new exam, Public Service Commission yet to decide
doctors infected with coronavirus
Representational photo

The government has decided to recruit 2,000 more doctors to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. The Ministry of Health has already sent a letter to the ministry of public administration demanding the appointments. However, doctors are worried about the process by which they will be recruited.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has not been able to finalise anything yet. PSC, which is constitutionally responsible for appointing government officials, said the commission would take a final decision after receiving the demand letter from the public administration. It is not possible to say anything before that.

The government appointed 2,000 new doctors in May to deal with the Covid-19 situation. They have already joined their work.

The PSC recommended their appointment from the non-cadre list of the 39th Special BCS without any examination. However, the Ministry of Health is now saying that they no longer want candidates from the waiting list of 39 non-cadres. Instead, 2,000 new doctors should be recruited through special BCS.

Asked about the matter, Health Services Division Secretary Abdul Mannan today told the Daily Star, "More doctors are needed to control the current Covid-19 situation. We need more doctors and the process of appointing 2,000 new assistant surgeons is underway. We have informed the Ministry of Public Administration following the process. We want them to be recruited soon. However, we have said that we do not want doctors from the non-cadre under the 39th Special BCS to be recruited again."

Meanwhile, candidates are worried about how the recruitment of the BCS exam will be completed amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Earlier, it took almost a year and a half to take the 39th special BCS for doctors with only preliminary and oral tests instead of written ones in normal times.

The advertisement of the 39th special BCS was issued on April 10, 2018. The PSC published the final results on April 30 last year and recommended the appointment of 4,792 doctors. Then in November, the Ministry of Public Administration issued an order appointing 4,443 to the health cadre. On the other hand, another 8,360 students who have passed the BCS were kept for non-cadre. Two thousand doctors were recruited from them to deal with the coronavirus situation in April. More than 6,000 doctors are still on the non-cadre list.

At least 50 candidates who have passed this BCS told The Daily Star that the 39th special BCS was taken only for doctors. Two thousand doctors have been recruited from the waiting list of this BCS a few days ago. Therefore, doctors should be appointed from the waiting list without special BCS.

On the other hand, many of the doctors in the non-cadre list of 38th BCS, which has just been released, say that 39th special BCS has recruited about 6,500 doctors in the health cadre through preliminary examination and viva alone. And the candidates of 38th BCS have gone through a long process including a written test. They are the seniors now. Therefore, doctors on the non-cadre list of 38th BCS should now be taken with the 39th BCS. They have also applied to the Ministry of Health and PSC in this regard.

Although there is a difference regarding which BCS they will be recruited from, they agreed that it will take a long time to complete the process of a special BCS, especially in how the exam will happen at this time, where will the centre be found and how the viva voce will be conducted for thousands of candidates.

A candidate on the waiting list for the 39th Special BCS from Rajshahi Medical College said, "It took over a year in normal circumstances for 39th Special BCS. Now there is coronavirus outbreak. If a new process starts it may happen that Covid-19 has ended meanwhile and the doctors were not ultimately recruited."

On April 30, the PSC recommended the appointment of 2,000 doctors in response to the demand of the public administration to address the coronavirus situation. They joined on May 13 after the gazette was published at the earliest. However, the government decided to appoint another 2,000 doctors due to the demand for doctors across the country for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. After all the process on June 17, the prime minister approved a summary of this demand.

A letter from the health ministry said considering the overall situation, the government has decided to appoint 2,000 doctors on an urgent basis to treat Covid-19 patients. The recruited doctors will be posted to various Covid-19 hospitals through attachments. After the end of coronavirus, they will be posted in the cadre posts of various health institutions as per the decision of the health department.

But health ministry officials say they are looking for new doctors. Health Services Division Secretary Abdul Mannan today said to The Daily Star, "This is a time of urgent need. We don't want to waste time with preliminary or written exams. Don't take long. PSC will definitely find a way."

However, the PSC could not take a final decision on how to appoint a special BCS again after 39th BCS. When asked, PSC Chairman Mohammad Sadiq told The Daily Star yesterday, "We have not yet decided what the process will be for hiring of 2,000 new doctors. When we will get the demand letterfrom the Ministry of Public Administration, then the commission will sit in a meeting and decide what to do next".


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