With more and more resident doctors falling prey to infectious disease like TB, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided to give health insurance cover to its resident doctors.
According to civic health officials, the BMC has plans to introduce it in January itself. Dr SJ Nagda, director of major civic hospitals, said, “We are still working on the health insurance package. We will implement it in January itself. At present, we are discussing the money coverage that we are going to provide to the doctors.”
While the officials are working on the insurance amount, sources said that a health insurance cover of Rs5 lakh is likely to be finalised. The administration is, however, thinking to only partially pay the premium amount.
“We will pay half the premium amount while the rest has to be borne by the resident doctors,” said Dr Nagda.
The insurance scheme will cover all the communicable and major diseases that can be covered under insurance policies. “We are not yet sure on the range of diseases that it is going to be covered, but we will try and make arrangements for a maximum number of ailments and accidents,” added Dr Nagda.
According to officials, once the insurance cover is provided, the doctors will be able to avail the benefits in all hospitals.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has been complaining to the administration about the poor accommodation facilities given to resident doctors and their long working hours. It has also been asking for a health policy for them. In 2013, at least 56 doctors from Mumbai’s public hospitals have contacted tuberculosis. Out of these, two died, which included Dr Samidha Khandare.
“We had raised this issue during Dr Khandare’s treatment when her family was unable to bear the expenses of Hinduja Hospital. BMC had turned a blind eye towards her financial problem. But now, the resident doctors will benefit fromthis move. This indeed is the best step in our medical care,” said Dr Swapnil Kulkarni from MARD.
Around 1,800 resident doctors work in the three civic tertiary-care hospitals. Recently, the administration also introduced a protein-rich diet for the doctors at Rs25 in these hospitals.
“TB remains one of the most common occupational hazards in public hospitals. In a public hospital, one resident doctor takes care of the patient load which should have been taken care by three doctors. We don’t get time to eat and sleep. It becomes a deadly combination of factors making us vulnerable to infections,” said Dr Santosh Wakchaure, president of central MARD.