Chandigarh: The administration at the leading, Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh (PGI Chandigarh), has decided to install biometric attendance system in order to ensure discipline and fix more accountability of staff and doctors at the institute.
While the PGI’s administration believes it to be the best alternative, a section of doctors is sceptical over the prospect of the new attendance system. The doctors have expressed their bewilderment over the implementation of the biometric system as they claim it would have an adverse impact on them for certain reasons.
To activate the initiative, this system has already been installed at the Institute’s Director, Dr Jagat Ram’s office and is also made compulsory from this month onwards. As per certain official sources, this has been done in a bid to set an example for the rest of the employees and doctors at PGI Chandigarh; as, shortly, this attendance system will be made mandatory for all.
Speaking to TOI about the decision, Amitabh Avasthi, Deputy Director, Administration at PGI Chandigarh stated, “The biometric attendance has been started in the director’s office so that an example can be set up for others. We expect a lot of resistance from doctors when we will have it in the OPDs, but we will have it installed there.”
Punctuality is the key
It took two years to implement this initiative at the institute. Dr Ram had planned to take this initiative starting from his office. He had proposed a biometric attendance system to ensure punctuality in OPDs and the administrative office. However, doctors and faculty had opposed the move.
Now as well, doubting the practicality of the biometric attendance, doctors said that after performing normal duties, they often get calls for emergency duties and treat patients during late night hours. A faculty member explained, “We have a very different schedule. There are many of us who work after the OPD timings. But at times, we have to go to the hospital for rounds. The biometric attendance cannot be applied to our work.”
Clearing up the aim behind the initiative, the Director Dr Ram told TOI, “The idea is not to punish or embarrass anyone but to make them responsible. Once this culture is set in, there will be less waiting for the patients who come from far off places.” The biometric shall be fingerprint-based. PGI Chandigarh sees a footfall of more than 6,000 patients in the OPD daily.
MCI on Biometric
The Medical Council of India also has made it mandatory for medical colleges to have biometrics for doctors. The Government Medical College and Hospital has it in all the faculty offices.
In November 2017, Medical Dialogues had reported about the circular issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) directing all teaching hospitals to start registering the biometric attendance of their teaching faculty. December 1, 2017, onwards, the assessment of faculty, barring Senior and junior residents, would be based on the biometric attendance record, the circular had specified.
Currently, there is no system to monitor entry and exit timings of staff at PGI Chandigarh. There are around 1,700 doctors. At any given time, 1,000 of them are in different OPDs.