As doctor patient ratio widens further, no funds to hire staff
Srinagar: With health institutions in the state facing a severe shortage of manpower, the health department Saturday said that it was waiting for Finance departments nod to create new posts of doctors and paramedics to overcome shortage of staff in hospitals.
The Health Department had given nod for creation of new posts for doctors and paramedics in Jammu and Kashmir last year. “We had sent file for creation of new posts to Chief Minister’s office for approval. The same was forwarded to finance department for final approval, however till date we have not received any clearance in this regard,” one of the top officials of the health department on the condition of anonymity said.
He said once the department receives the file the notification will be issued accordingly and recruitment agencies will make the selection process.
The government in the recent Assembly session had said that as many as 1173 posts of doctors are vacant in the medical education department against the sanctioned strength of 2477. “In health department and Indian System of Medicine, there are 1422 vacancies. Against the sanctioned strength of 5653 doctors, 4231 posts have been filled so far in the department,” the details had revealed.
Official sources said that the doctor patient ratio in J&K is 1:2104 as against the recommendations of World Health Organization (WHO) of 1:1000, which is grossly in-sufficient.
“The Health department over the years has seen less recruitment of doctors thereby letting patients suffer. The doctors are also unwilling to serve in remote areas and instead prefer to serve in urban areas and many give up their jobs to move outside the state,” an official said.
The Health and Medical Education Department recently directed officers that they should ensure that the places where two or more persons have been posted against one sanctioned post, “the one who have a longer stay should be transferred out only if he/she has completed a minimum tenure of two years there”.
“All such doctors-paramedics hospitals staff except for those appointed under RBA/ALC categories and serving in such areas who have completed more than five years of tenure in a health institution, shall be shifted and action shall be taken under rules,” a recent circular of the government said.
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Meanwhile sources said that government was also going for a major reshuffle to strengthen the understaffed health care centres in far-flung areas in J&K.
“Those doctors who have served in cities only will be sent to rural areas to strengthen the understaffed hospitals in rural areas. Every doctor has to serve now some time in rural area,” one of the officials in the health department said.
The official said there was a shortage of over 1500 doctors in rural areas of the state. “There is a sanctioned strength nearly 1500 doctors for valley hospitals run by the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir (DHSK) but only 900 doctors are available for duty while rest are either absent or deputed on choice postings in Medical Colleges and other departments,”.
Sources said that for National Rural Health Mission, posts for 100 doctors and 500 para-medics have been created for the last few years.
Minister of State for Health and Medical Education, Aesia Naqash, had admitted that there was shortage of staff in the hospitals and the measures are being taken to overcome understaffed healthcare centres of the state. “We are committed to work for the betterment of the healthcare system,” she had said.
She had confirmed that file of creation of new posts was submitted to CM’s office for final approval. “The file was submitted to Chief Minister’s office and I believe that after nod from CMs office the file is now with the finance department for final approval,” the minister had said.
(With inputs from KNS)