Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has taken cognizance of the Odisha Health and Family Welfare Department’s failure to set a timeframe to identify the fake doctors practicing in the state and initiate actions against them.
Hearing the case on Friday, a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and MS Raman expressed dismay over a statement submitted by the state Health and Family Welfare Department in response to the court’s December 21, 2022 directive to the state government asking it to identify the fake doctors practicing in Odisha, especially in the rural and semi-urban areas.
Presenting its side, Health and Family Welfare Department informed the court that the chief medical officers (CDMOs) of all districts have been directed to verify the certificates of all doctors working in the state. However, the court was not satisfied with the response and said it is surprising that no time frame was mentioned in the department’s affidavit. The High Court directed the government to submit an additional affidavit by February 20.
The High Court has ordered to clarify in the text what the time schedule will be for the completion of the inspection process of the doctors’ certificates.
Meanwhile, amicus curiae senior lawyer Gautam Mishra told the court that information has been received about fake doctors treating patients in Malkangiri, Rayagada, Ganjam and Mayurbhanj districts. In such a situation, if the information of all the doctors of the state is available online, people will be able to know the doctor’s identity, he said.
In its order, the High Court directed the Health and Family Welfare Department to take necessary steps in this matter.
It is worth mentioning here that the World Bank, in a survey report, had alleged that 51 per cent of the doctors treating patients in different states were found to lack adequate educational qualifications. On December 21, 2022, the High Court directed the Health and Family Welfare Department to investigate the matter and submit a report in this regard.
Subsequently, the Odisha Health and Family Welfare Department issued a directive to all CDMOs in the state to identify all such doctors and verify their educational certificates. However, the department did not set a time frame for the process, which irked the High Court.