Restoring stature of SKIMS govt’s immediate concern, says Finance Minister

Chairs maiden meeting of SKIMS Management Committee

Calls for in-house brainstorming; Suggests slew of measures to improve functioning of JK’s premiere health institute

Jammu: Minister for Finance Haseeb Drabu on Wednesday said the functioning of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura involves larger social issue linked to the public healthcare in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Government’s immediate concern is to restore the stature of this premiere healthcare institution and dignity of the profession,” Dr Drabu said while chairing the maiden meeting of the newly constituted SKIMS Management Committee here this afternoon.

Chief Secretary B B Vyas and Principal Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department, Dr Pawan Kotwal, were also present at the meeting.

Drabu said the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is keen on streamlining the SKIMS functioning to secure the public and stakeholder trust.  “For this we shall have to ensure that the services are improved, healthcare quality and patient safety is mended and there is regular flow of information about the outcomes,” he said and added that the issues plaguing the SKIMS have both internal and external dimensions and need to be tackled simultaneously to streamline the functioning of this premiere healthcare institute.

He said to ensure that the autonomous character of the Institute is not tampered with, the Government won’t stick its nose in the internal affairs of SKIMS beyond certain administrative limits. “It is the responsibility of the SKIMS doctors and the faculty to set the things right internally and ensure that the patient care doesn’t suffer because of the niggling issues,” he said and added that the Institute has one of the best and most responsible faculties in place and it is their duty to make its functioning and healthcare delivery more efficient.

Making it clear that private practice by SKIMS doctors won’t be acceptable, the Minister said that the dignified and conscientious way of tacking this menace is that the medicos should themselves follow a code of conduct in this regard instead of forcing the Government to initiate disciplinary action.

Drabu suggested various measures including setting up of Outreach Clinics under SKIMS umbrella in far-flung areas to screen cases needing super-speciality treatment to tackle patient rush, increasing outpatient working hours at the Institute by extending and arranging OPDs and shifts, setting up Pay Clinics and Pay Wards, creation of more posts of scientists and researchers, setting research targets for the faculty,   setting up Department of Clinical Research, involving SKIMS in the training of staff from Health Services institutions in the peripheries, deputing clinicians/staff from SKIMS periodically to various medical institutions of eminence like AIIMS New Delhi/PGI Chandigarh for capacity building an setting up new and much-needed super-speciality faculties so that the patient outflow is prevented.

The Minister assured full support from the Government for capacity building and augmentation of infrastructure and human resource at the institute. He said the Corporates can be also involved under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to help infrastructure upgradation and research at the SKIMS. “I would personally talk to some corporate houses to arrange resources for such activities,” he said.

The meeting was also attended by Prof Samia Rashid, Principal Government Medical College Srinagar, Dr Omar Javaid Shah, Director SKIMS and Dr Ghulam Nabi Yatoo, Professor and Head Department of Gastroenterology SKIMS.

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