Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 23 March 2023 7.45 AM IST

Move to sabotage punching system in medical colleges once again; duty hours should be fixed first, say doctors


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the government once again geared up to restore the punching system in medical colleges, hospital staff, including doctors, have come out opposing the move. The punching machines, which were installed five years ago, have been remaining idle due to the stubbornness of the staff and the laxity of the health department. Doctors are of the opinion that the punching system should be restored only after fixing the duty hours of doctors.

All the machines installed for punching since November 1, 2017, have been standing still due to mismanagement by the authorities. The Director of Medical Education will immediately call a meeting of the representatives of the doctors' association to prevent the punching system from becoming a failure once again.

According to the doctors, clarity should be made regarding the benefit of overtime work as most of the doctors work beyond OP hours. Doctors argue that punching is not practical on the days of surgery and when the doctors have to return to the hospital to address emergency cases after going home. However, the health department thinks that punching is the most effective way to determine overtime work hours. It also said that the department is considering allowing extra leave for those who are eligible for such benefits. The government, which pointed out that there has been an increase in the number of doctors doing private practice without coming to the hospital, added that these people are the ones opposing the punching system.

Why two punching?
The punching system is being implemented to identify doctors who skip work and catch those who simultaneously work in multiple medical colleges. The punching system has been strengthened by the National Medical Council (NMC). Actions in this regard are in progress. This will be implemented in medical colleges, including private medical colleges. Therefore, the doctors are pointing out that there is no need for the state to introduce a punching system on its own.

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