From next year, civic hospital doctors will be allowed to work in a single private hospital, after their mandatory working hours of 9am to 4pm.
This private practice cap is being introduced after the civic administration learned that several civic hospital doctors were practising privately during working hours, which was affecting patients. Dr SJ Nagda, director, major civic hospitals, said, “We have been keeping a close watch on civic hospital doctors’ working hours. It will be mandatory for them to practise in only one private hospital, after their working hours.”
In last six months, the administration took up measures to ensure that doctors’ absenteeism didn’t affect patient care. Dr Shubhangi Parker, acting dean at Parel’s KEM hospital - one of the city’s three civic tertiary-care hospitals, said, “A circular has been sent to all doctors to disclose the names of hospitals to which they are attached.”
The administration, in an earlier circular, had asked doctors not to switch off their cellphones during working hours.
So far, it has given notice to 13 KEM hospital doctors for practising privately during working hours.
After two doctors of Sion hospital — another tertiary-care hospital — were found guilty, one was suspended while the other’s allowance was cut. In November, a senior Sion hospital doctor was questioned for advertising his consultation timings (11am to 1pm) in a private hospital’s newsletter.
As per the civic hospital rule book, its doctors can practise privately only after 4pm, before which they are required to remain in the hospital premises. “We don’t want our patient care to get affected. We’re keeping an eye on most doctors and their working hours on a daily basis. Errant doctors are being questioned,” said Dr Parker.
The administration decided to allow civic doctors to practise privately after 4pm, in 2004. However, they were not required to disclose names of the hospitals. The decision came after a stream of full-time doctors abandoned civic hospitals for private practice. If doctors were to devote their time solely to civic hospitals, they would be allowed to opt for private practice allowance. “The civic administration took a good decision. Doctors who work in a public set-up had taken a conscious decision and the administration is allowing them to work in a private set-up. I think it was fair demand to have doctors reveal names of private hospitals where they practise,” said Sujata Rao, president of the Associa