In absence of Medical Council, who is regulating medical practice in J&K?

‘Doctors From Outside Come On Weekends And Fly Away After Operating Patients, Do We Even Know If These People Are Doctors’

ZEHRU NISSA
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 13 2017 12:33AM | Updated Date: Dec 13 2017 12:33AM
In absence of Medical Council, who is regulating medical practice in J&K?Representational Pic

For years now, the government has failed to revive the J&K Medical Council (JKMC), which would have checked unregulated medical practices in Kashmir.

The JKMC, a subordinate body of the Medical Council of India (MCI), is a “defunct body” as the government has failed to constitute it for about a decade. 

As per norms, some of the council’s members are elected while others are nominated by the government. However, since 2009, no president of the body has been appointed or elected, and other members, as per sources, have been holding their position for decades.

While the MCI lists Dr Ashok Parihar as the president of the JKMC, his term expired in 2010, an official in health and medical education department said. 

When Greater Kashmir contacted Dr Parihar to seek information about the functions of JKMC, he said he was no more the president. “My term has expired years ago. I do not know who the president is,” he said.

Many doctors have alleged that process and manner of constituting JKMC was unclear and due to the lack of clarity, some people had “hijacked” it. 

“We as doctors in Kashmir do not know how the government constitutes the regulatory body. There should be some rules and regulations but no one knows what these are,” a senior faculty member at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, said.

A state medical council, apart from registering the qualified medical practitioners in the state, also has to ensure disciplinary control over doctors. It has the mandate to register complaints of misconduct, malpractice and ethical issues if any, and initiate action against the guilty. It can also issue “professional death sentence” to a medical practitioner and delete his or her name from the medical register.

The council has no office in Kashmir and doctors have to travel to Jammu to get registered. Although, a few years back, a satellite office was functional in Srinagar, it has been closed down.

The “skeleton body” of the council that does exist with a few members is also a “mess”, a source who is a senior faculty member at the SKIMS, Soura, said. 

Many doctors said their original qualification certificates have been misplaced when they submitted these with the council for getting registered and had had rough time due to lack of accountability there.

Doctors in hospitals across Kashmir said the biggest problem the absence of a viable medical council was creating was the lack of regulation on medical practice in Kashmir. 

“Anyone from state or outside the state can practice in Kashmir without getting registered and there is no mechanism in place to check the credentials of these practitioners,” a senior doctor told Greater Kashmir. 

He said that many of these practitioners were quacks and many were offering services that they are not qualified for.

A senior faculty in SKIMS said that a doctor needs registration with the medical council of the state to become eligible for carrying out a medical procedure. 

“In this state, doctors from outside come on weekends and fly away after operating patients. Do we even know if these people are doctors?” he asked.

 

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