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Political interference derails Punjab Medical Council’s investigation into “ghost faculty”

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i445 (Published 25 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i445
  1. Priyanka Pulla
  1. 1Bangalore

An investigation into allegations that around 400 doctors are falsely claiming to be employees of medical colleges has been derailed by a Punjabi state minister, the president of the Punjab Medical Council has alleged.

Gurinder Singh Grewal, the council president, has accused Anil Joshi, Punjab state minister of medical education and research, of undue interference into the investigation of so called “ghost faculty” members.

The investigation began in March last year when Grewal sent notices to around 400 doctors—two of whom were Punjabi Medical Council members—who claimed to be full time staff at medical colleges and present during inspections by the Medical Council of India, boosting the colleges’ numbers so that they received permission to operate.

However, several of those doctors facing allegations, including council members, complained to Joshi about the investigation.

Joshi replied, “I have every right to inquire about [the Punjab Medical Council’s affairs] as the minister of the department.” In December Joshi himself ordered an official probe into Grewal and the workings of the Punjab Medical Council.

In August 2015, after the doctors complained about the Grewal investigation, Joshi sent a letter to the Punjab Medical Council asking for a definition of the term “ghost faculty.”

When asked why he had asked for clarification when the term was clearly defined in medical council rules, Joshi told The BMJ, “Giving a name such as ‘ghost faculty’ to the entire medical profession doesn’t look good. That’s why I merely asked for a clarification.” Joshi added that Grewal’s actions in inducting doctors from outside the medical council into subcommittees without consulting council members was against the rules of the Punjab Medical Council.1

Grewal said that since the minister’s intervention council members had stopped cooperating with the investigation and he can no longer proceed.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i445

References

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