In a shocking decision, SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) here has abolished the posts of Junior Resident Doctors (JRD) at the tertiary care health institute, a move that would deal a blow to patient care as well as doctors' learning and training program.
The SKIMS administration on December 30, 2016, issued a notification cancelling the interviews scheduled a day later for the post of Junior Residents. The interviews were called off, as per the notification, due to "Governing Body of SKIMS decision to convert Junior Resident posts into Senior Resident Posts". The posts of JRD had been advertised just a week prior to the cancellation.
The move of SKIMS authorities to abolish Junior Residency has drawn flak with senior doctors calling it detrimental to patient care and the academicians lamenting that it would rob junior doctors of the opportunity to hone their skills, while aspirants are crying hoarse that they would have all more limited avenues to get training after their MBBS. "The junior doctors are an essential workforce. SKIMS has nearly 75 resident vacancies," a senior Professor at SKIMS said.
He added, "It is surprising that the Governing body members agreed to such a proposal which was vehemently opposed by Health Minister as well as the Minister of State for Health."
Another senior faculty member said, "The excuse of the administration that they need more senior residents rather than junior residents is seriously detrimental to the training of the junior doctors who have to be polished in their skills so that they can practice in the field or even prepare for postgraduate courses.
Healthcare experts said, "Senior residents are certainly desirable. Practically it is not very feasible to recruit them as they generally opt for the hospitals outside Kashmir where the perks are fatter and they get a chance of getting into super-specialty courses".
The SKIMS senior faculty members said that despite available vacancies, the posts of senior residents usually remained vacant at the institute. "In such a scenario, doing away with junior residency is a stab to the training of the junior doctors," they said.
A delegation of junior doctors told Greater Kashmir that abolishing of the junior residency is a serious issue. "The SKIMS authorities seemed to have deceived the government by going ahead with such a heinous move".
"What would happen to a junior resident who does not get post-graduation? Our peripheral health system is manned by MBBS doctors who need to be trained enough before they are out in the field for medical practice," the junior doctors said.
They said that by having a year of junior residency they get properly "weaned into the system". "The SKIMS authorities seem to be oblivious of the realities and this decision seems to be "yet another one in a spate of administrative mismanagement and ill-planning," doctors at SKIMS said.