Medical college ‘leaves’ out resident doctor

- May 5, 2023
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

A doctor at Safdarjung Hospital has been denied examination form for the upcoming session due to discrepancy in attendance, which the doctor says is not his fault

Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital (Photo by Getty Images)

A resident doctor of Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, has complained to the principal of Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (VMMC) against the Head of Department (HoD) of psychiatry for discrepancies in his attendance due to which he couldn’t fill his examination form for the upcoming session.

Dr Ganesh Kumar Meena, who is pursuing MD in psychiatry at VMMC, a college attached to the Safdarjung Hospital, and is currently in the final year, said, “I had asked the HoD on December 3, 2021, to show the leaves I had taken and they reported that I have taken no leaves during the first year. So, I wasn’t that worried. But suddenly this year, the department issued 42 extra leaves in my name without informing me. This shows the department is desperate to prevent me from appearing in the exam.”

The doctor alleged that he was also marked absent for 45 extra days during his second year in the months of September and October, 2022.

“An absence of these 45 days has been sent to the academic section without my knowledge. There are some discrepancies in leaves of June and July months. I would like to assert that I have not taken any leaves during this period without informing faculty members and Senior Resident (SR) on duty,” he told Patriot.

A doctor is allowed to take 102 days of leave. Meena claims he took 99 of the 102 leaves allowed to him but an extra 87 days’ leave was marked against his name.

Meena joined PG (post-graduate course) on June 23, 2020. He says that he had taken no leaves during the first 12 months.

“I joined PG on June 23, 2020, and during the first 12 months I had taken no leaves as there was Covid lockdown and no leaves were sanctioned during the period. During this period, I was posted to Covid duty twice — in July, 2020 and January, 2021. I spent a few days in quarantine as per the rule,” he recalled.

“There was a rule that the two-week quarantine period allotted to the doctors after some days of Covid duty, will not count as leave. I also got infected with Covid-19, for which I [had] informed the department with a proper Covid report. I was in home quarantine for the period as per government rule. Besides these quarantine leaves, I had taken no leaves in my first year period.”

While the mandatory quarantine isolation was forcefully thrust on him as leaves, the doctor, however, admits to making a mistake last year when he missed signing the attendance register.

Dr Ganesh Kumar Meena’s letter to his principal, passionately explaining the details of leaves

“I did not sign the attendance register during the months of September and October as I was posted in the psychiatry ward for the first fifteen days of September and there was no routine of signing attendance register by ward PGs at that time. During the second half of September, the department was divided into two units, and thereafter the posting of PGs started in OPD and ward alternatively. As the attendance register was kept in the HoD office in OPD, I frequently forgot to sign it. At that time, my wife was pregnant and I would get late by 15-20 minutes to OPD on some occasions. But after reaching OPD, I used to start work properly. I even provided the details of my work done by me with the date and day. I collected all the evidence of my duties from the OPD allotment register and ward treatment book.”

Meena wrote a letter regarding this to the principal of VMMC, even apologising for the failure to mark attendance.

“But recently, I came to know that despite my earlier apology and leave details I have been marked absent for 45 days during September and October 2022.”

In the letter, a copy of which is in possession of Patriot, Meena wrote, “I have tried to collect information of my leaves from OPD case allotment register, ward treatment book, ward patient discharge summary and ward emergency and call registers. I lost my mobile phone in February of this year and also lost data of duty rosters, seminars, case conferences that I had attended during this period. Hence access to ward files, academic schedule and duty rosters was needed to further prove my attendance.”

Meena revealed that it was not mandatory to sign the register which was why he took it lightly and forgot to sign it.

“It was not mandatory to sign the register, not only for us but other departments too. So, I took it lightly. But I apologised for not signing the attendance register and provided details of leaves taken during September and October 2022. Despite this, I recently came to know that I have been marked absent for 45 days during the months of September and October 2022. An absence of these 45 days has been sent to the academic section without my knowledge, resulting in less than 80% attendance,” added Meena.

The Rajasthan native had also done his MBBS from the same college. He has filed an RTI seeking details of leaves in the department.

“Over the last month, I have been requesting the department for a chance to appear in the upcoming exam in June. When I went to take the exam form last week at the principal’s office, they denied saying that I can’t fill the form. Then I sent all my details to the principal and Medical Superintendent (MS) about my attendance. It’s been happening since the last week. Now, our Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) representative has met the principal. A committee, without the HoD, will be formed and inquire into this matter. So, I am waiting for it. Hopefully, the committee will listen to me and decide in my favour.”

Meena has also mentioned in the letter, “According to the best of my knowledge, I had availed a total of 99 leaves [of the 102 allowed] from my joining till December 31, 2022. I have attached details of leaves during September and October 2022.”

Patriot also contacted Dr Pankaj Gupta, the HoD, for comments but Dr Gupta refused to share details. He said, “A committee has been formed, I cannot say anything about it at the moment.”