Lucknow: A transfer exercise involving doctors — that saw at least two deceased professionals “transferred” — has stoked a controversy in Uttar Pradesh, with Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak pulling up the top officer of his own department on the grounds that the decisions were allegedly not in line with the transfer policy.
The transfers are also learnt to have included doctors on the cusp of retirement. The orders were issued in the last week of June, according to multiple transfer lists accessed by ThePrint.
So far, at least 250 complaints of alleged “discrepancies” and “arbitrariness” have been received by the state health department and the UP Provincial Medical Services Association from doctors affected by the transfer exercise. Many of these complaints also made it to social media.
Pathak’s 4 July letter, addressed to Additional Chief Secretary (Medicine and Health) Amit Mohan Prasad, has created ripples in the Yogi Adityanath government, raising questions over whether the transfers were carried out without keeping the deputy CM — who also holds the medical and health portfolio — in the loop.
In his letter, Pathak said he had been informed that the transfer policy was not properly followed in the transfers.
State government officials who spoke to ThePrint on condition of anonymity said a transfer list is first approved by Secretary (Medicine and Health) Ravinder Kumar, and then ratified by additional chief secretary (ACS) Prasad.
They further said transfer lists are sent out to everyone in the health department after the minister’s approval.
In his letter, Pathak also stated that in several big hospitals, including those in state capital Lucknow — where there is a “serious requirement” of specialists — “doctors have been transferred in large numbers but no new postings have been made”.
Asked about his letter, Pathak, who was on a visit to Prayagraj Tuesday, told mediapersons that several people had informed him that the state government’s directions were not followed in recent transfers.
“Subsequently, I have sought details in the same,” he added.
Speaking to ThePrint, Pathak said the details he had sought were yet to reach him. “When I get the details, I will myself share details with the media,” he said.
ThePrint sought a comment from ACS Prasad, but he said: “I am not going to comment on this.”
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Two dead doctors ‘transferred’ weeks after their passing
Among those transferred is a doctor who died on 17 June due to a liver infection. The order came out on 30 June, 13 days after his death.
Dr Dipendra Singh, who was posted in Chitrakoot district, had sought a transfer to his home district Prayagraj in 2020.
However, his grieving family members were shocked to find Singh’s name in the transfer list.
On Tuesday, deputy CM Pathak visited the deceased doctor’s family. Dipendra Singh’s wife Abha Singh told mediapersons that she had requested him for a position in the health department.
A senior official of the Prayagraj health department told ThePrint on condition of anonymity: “He (Dr Singh) wanted a transfer to his home district in 2020 due to his ill health but his request was not approved for around two years. His name was, however, in the list of officials transferred recently. He was given a Prayagraj posting after his death.”
According to the transfer list, Singh had been given a new posting at the Moti Lal Nehru Hospital in Prayagraj.
Meanwhile, Dr Sudhir Chandra, who was posted as assistant chief medical officer (ACMO) in Barabanki district, died on 12 June. However, his name, too, was in the list of those transferred out on 30 June.
The list mentioned that Chandra was transferred to Fatehpur district as ACMO.
Dr Sachin Vaishya, president of the Provincial Medical Services Association UP, confirmed to ThePrint that both Singh and Chandra had died.
Alleging that many of the decisions were arbitrary, a state government official said “two deceased doctors have been given posting”.
“There are some doctors who are nearing retirement and given a posting despite the rules clearly saying that the doctors who will retire within two years should not be given any new posting,” the official added.
Those transferred include at least one doctor who is set to retire in the next 11 months — Dr Vimal Kumar Bainswar, who has been posted as chief medical officer for Deoria.
“Then, in countless cases, the rule that husband and wife will be transferred in the same district has not been followed.”
A doctor who underwent angioplasty in July 2021 was transferred to Aligarh despite his request that he be allowed to remain in Gautam Buddha Nagar, where his treatment was going on.
Anaesthetist Dr Anurag Yadav, who was posted in the trauma centre of SSMJ Hospital in Khurja, Bulandshahr, was transferred to Aligarh end-June, the transfer list showed.
According to Yadav’s 21 June application — which ThePrint has accessed — he had requested that he be transferred to the district hospital in Noida’s Sector 30 in view of his health and familial situation.
Said another government official, “In one particular instance, a doctor has been transferred to Prayagraj while his wife has been transferred to Mahoba. The cities are at a distance of over 224 kilometres. Several such cases have come to the fore.”
Minister of state writes to health director
As media reports about the transfer orders started doing the rounds, Minister of State (Health) Mayankeshwar Singh too shot off a missive to the director (medicine and health services).
In his letter, he demanded details of all the medical officers, nursing cadre, X-Ray technicians, physiotherapists, laboratory assistants, ECG technicians, malaria, filarial and dental cadre who have been serving in the divisional offices for over seven years.
In the 6 July letter — accessed by ThePrint — Singh sought to know details of the doctors posted in districts where the June transfers have been effected, and the number of years they have served in their current positions.
Government sources said health department officials are busy collating details sought by the deputy CM and MoS Singh.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)
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