In multiple circulars on Sunday and Monday, the Health Services Division (HSD) instructed the doctors to join their newly-designated work stations by today.

However, the transfer orders would not be applicable to the doctors already involved in RT-PCR Covid test or those working in Covid-dedicated hospitals, according to another HSD circular issued yesterday evening.

A doctor who is the only teacher available in a department at a medical college is also exempted from such orders, it mentioned.

Besides, the HSD suspended the transfer orders that contain wrong information about the current workplaces of a number of doctors.

It has asked the authorities concerned to send to the health ministry lists of these doctors by tomorrow.

The government decision has triggered outrage among doctors who said the reshuffle was made in an “unplanned” way without any discussions with them.

They also alleged that there were some anomalies in the transfer orders.

For example, Dr Jibesh Kumar Pramanik, who worked at Bogura’s Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College, died from Covid in January this year. But his name was on the list which showed he was transferred to the 250-bed Mohammad Ali Hospital.

The HSD, however, amended the list later and issued a revised circular, excluding the names of three doctors including Jibesh.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“This will create chaos in the country’s healthcare system because the transfers were made in an unplanned way,” said Dr Ehteshamul Haque Chowdhury Dulal, secretary general of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA).

“The transfer orders were issued without mentioning designations and service code numbers,” he told this newspaper yesterday.

“We fail to understand the reason for stirring up a new trouble in the healthcare system in such a situation when doctors across the country are working hard to deal with Covid patients.”

Criticising the ministry officials, he said, “They [ministry officials] have no idea about the rules of business of a professor at a medical college or any other healthcare officials.”

The ministry could have talked to the health directorate and the medical education directorate before making such a decision, he observed.

Dr Rezaul Karim, director in-charge of Cumilla Medical College Hospital, thinks such sudden transfers would hamper healthcare services.

“For example, a doctor, who is a professor at our medical college, is also serving as the in-charge of the ICU at our medical college hospital. But now he has been transferred elsewhere to work in a Covid unit. How will we operate our ICU unit now?”

Contacted, Dr Sheikh Md Hasan Imam, director (admin) at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said the health ministry officials might have made the decision, thinking that the doctors working at medical colleges only teach students.

“But the reality is that all the doctors, who work at medical colleges, simultaneously discharge duties at medical college hospitals. Such transfers will create problems in providing healthcare services,” he pointed out.