Staff stagnancy sickens Health Deptt
‘INFLUENTIAL MEDICOS’ NOT TRANSFERRED FOR 10-12 YEARS
Srinagar, June 16: In a major concern, the Health Department in Jammu and Kashmir is acting as a mute spectator to the years-old stagnancy of medicos in Kashmir, thus badly affecting the healthcare delivery at the grassroots level in rural and far-flung areas of the Valley.
Highly placed sources disclosed to Greater Kashmir that a number of medicos have not been transferred from their present places of posting for 10 to 15 years, making it difficult for the people in far-flung areas of the Valley to have access to basic healthcare. These medicos—who have allegedly links with politicians, legislators or bureaucrats either directly or indirectly—have not been removed as per the transfer norms.
“The problem is that everybody wants to be posted in a city or a town. Nobody is willing to serve in rural areas. There are scores of medicos who have not been transferred from city hospitals for years together. With the result, these hospitals are overstaffed while the district hospitals or sub-district hospitals are either understaffed or defunct for lack of medicos,” sources said.
The Health Department is not following the general transfer policy which makes shifting of an official mandatory after serving for two years at a particular position. “This is a huge problem which is leading to nepotism and other issues in the healthcare institutions. When someone tries to take an initiative on transfers, the influential medicos get it halted at the higher levels,” said an official in the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir. “Nobody touches them. There are scores of places in Kashmir where there are no doctors posted in PHCs or hospitals. Those who could be sent there are working in city hospitals and are not transferred,” he added.
The sources cited different instances from Kashmir hospitals where medicos have not been transferred for years together. These include JLNM Rainwari, Gousia Hospital, DH Budgam and government-run healthcare facilities at Barzulla, Chanapora and Jawahar Nagar. “Some doctors posted at distant places manage to get selection for short duration courses at Srinagar, never to return back. They demand facilities to apply their newly acquired skills in the field. So they manage to get themselves posted in the city or suburb areas,” said a medico, insisting not to be named. “Ideally, doctors should not be allowed to stay for more than two years at a given place. All doctors must be given rural posting at PHCs, CHCs compulsorily for at least 3 to 5 years before being posted at district level hospitals or those in towns and cities.”
Sources said last year a freshly appointed assistant surgeon, who was son of a retired bureaucrat, was posted at a PHC just 2 kms from his residence in Srinagar city. “Doctors coming on category quota must serve at their places of actual residence of whose benefit they are taking in acquiring the category certificate. They have already given a bond to do so when admitted in a medical college,” the DHS official said, adding, “The list of all doctors who have stayed for more than 5 years at a given place must be made public, mentioning their residence and place of posting. The posting of doctors should be based on work and performance and the deadwood needs to be removed from plum posts.”
He said all the doctors on administrative posts should be made accountable for their areas, controlled sections and units. “Also the doctors overstaying in GMC associated hospitals should be brought back to DHS and posted appropriately,” the official said. “There should be proper eligibility criteria for posting medicos at administrative posts. Just seniority should not be criteria. A specialization in public health, community medicine or health management needs definite consideration.”
Pertinently in March this year, the State Government said it was contemplating to make rural services mandatory for all doctors to improve health facilities in rural areas of the state.
Addressing the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) meeting in the month, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced that those medicos who serve in rural areas would get additional points in the Public Service Commission (PSC) selection process. But so far there has been little action on the directive, given the ground realties. “The first thing that the government should do is identify why medicos are not willing to serve in rural areas. If there are any issues, they must be looked into. There are some doctors who rye poor living conditions and improper facilities in far-off places. The government has a responsibility to ensure better living standards for medicos serving in rural areas,” said a senior officer in Health Department, when asked why doctors were reluctant to serve in rural areas. “At the same time, there has been a full-fledged transfer policy in place which should be implemented in letter and spirit. Stagnancy of doctors is not a good sign.”
The Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman said they have already issued a transfer list to “plug the shortage of medicos in areas like Kandoosa, Handwara, Beerwah, Kalantara, Gund.” “We are committed to ensure quality healthcare delivery at the grassroots level. And all possible measures are being taken to make it happen,” he told Greater Kashmir.
In the recent transfer list, at least 60 medicos have been placed at various far-off places—something which observers believe should be a continuous process.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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