The Union cabinet on Wednesday increased the retirement age of central government doctors to 65 years with an aim to meet the shortage of medical staff, especially super-specialists, in the country.
The government’s decision will be applicable to all AYUSH and central government doctors and dentists except those in the Central Health Service (CHS), which includes those working in the railways and armed forces.
The retirement age of CHS doctors was increased to 65 years last year, after which other central government doctors had also asked for an extension in their retirement age.
The government decision is expected to not only improve patient care facilities but also meet shortage of faculty in government medical colleges, which is proving to be a huge problem.
“This Cabinet decision will go a long way to strengthen health services in country by providing experienced doctors at all levels,” health minister JP Nadda tweeted soon after the decision was announced.
The health minister added that the move will “improve doctor-patient ratio in country and will address shortage of doctors” and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the decision.
India has a little more than one million modern medicine (allopathy) doctors to treat its population of 1.3 billion people, shows data from the National Health Profile 2017.
Of these, only around 10% work in the public health sector that effectively means there is one government allopathic doctor for every 10,189 people.
The decision is not likely to have major financial implications as a number of posts are lying vacant and the eligible doctors would continue to work in their existing capacity against the sanctioned posts. Doctors holding administrative posts have been allowed to continue on the post till 62 years of age, after which they will be placed in non-administrative positions.
“The decision will help utilise the services of experienced doctors. It will also help in retaining the existing strength of experienced doctors, thereby providing better patient care. This will also help in improving doctor-patient ratio in the country,” Union health minister J P Nadda said.