Doctor-patient ratio in J&K among lowest in India

Doctor-patient ratio in J&K among lowest in India

The ratio is even lower in rural areas, health officials told Greater Kashmir. This ratio does not include Indian System of Medicine doctors who cannot practice the allopathic system.

The doctor-patient ratio in Jammu and Kashmir is among the lowest in India and it is likely to remain so if the state government continues with the traditional sluggish process of recruitment.

Compared to the doctor-patient ratio of 1:2000 in India—World Health Organisation recommends a ratio of 1:1000— J&K has one allopathic doctor for 3866 people, Central Board of Health Intelligence, New Delhi, has said. 

The ratio is even lower in rural areas, health officials told Greater Kashmir. This ratio does not include Indian System of Medicine doctors who cannot practice the allopathic system.

As per figures released by government recently, hundreds of posts of doctors are vacant in rural and urban hospitals. Also, no new posts have been created even though the population of the valley has increased from about 54 lakh souls (2001 Census) to Rs 70 lakh (2011 Census).

It takes years for the government to advertise and fill the vacancies. “Over the years the load and the expectations from the healthcare system have increased but the human resources have remained more or less static,” said director health services Kashmir Dr Saleem ur Rehman. 

He said that since public sector catered to 95 percent of healthcare needs in J&K, there was an urgent need for filling doctors vacancies at all levels. Lesser number of doctors means long lines of patients at OPDs of even tertiary care hospitals and punishing working hours for junior doctors.

The Government Medical College Srinagar alone has referred about 500 vacant posts of doctors to recruiting agencies, said principal GMC Dr Samia Rashid.

 “We have made some short-term arrangements but hopefully the issue (of doctor shortage) will be addressed soon,” she said.