A group of doctors is advocating for the Health Department to appoint candidates for 1,251 vacant doctor positions from the pool of individuals who successfully passed the Medical Services Recruitment Board (MRB) examination in April 2023, rather than initiating a new notification and examination process.

Following the release of a notification for 1,021 assistant surgeon positions nearly 15 months prior, the Department, via the MRB, distributed appointment letters to the chosen candidates on February 6. Health Minister Ma. Subramanian recently indicated that an announcement for filling an additional 1,251 vacancies within the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine would be made soon. This announcement has sparked calls from some candidates, who suggest leveraging the existing list of candidates who have already proven their eligibility through the MRB examination.

Doctors highlight the lengthy interval since the last MRB exam in 2018, noting that the April 2023 exam attracted around 26,000 participants for assistant surgeon roles, with approximately 13,800 candidates deemed eligible. Out of nearly 1,600 candidates considered for 1,021 positions, 777 were appointed. They argue that the remaining vacancies should be filled from this list of eligible candidates.

One doctor pointed out the challenges of organizing a new MRB exam due to the upcoming general elections and the associated model code of conduct, suggesting a preference among many candidates to fill the vacancies with those already qualified.

Health Department insiders mentioned that a proposal to recruit an additional 25% of candidates from the current list has been forwarded to the MRB. This strategy would allow for the inclusion of 255 eligible candidates from the existing recruitment drive. “After integrating these 255 candidates, we’ll proceed with the next announcement, ensuring all aspiring candidates have an opportunity,” stated a department source.