The medical officers from Kashmir division appointed by the government earlier this week Saturday alleged that the government had posted them in difficult areas, far from districts of residence, a charge that the officials refuted stating that, in the interest of patient care, all the placements were in under-served areas.
Many recently appointed medical officers from Kashmir claimed that the “trend of decreasing the chances” of their joining was not a new one.
They said in the previous lists too, there were very few doctors from Kashmir who were in their home districts while the same was not true for appointees from Jammu division.
“The government has once again ensured that the doctors from Kashmir are given posts in the areas far beyond the geographical areas of their home districts,” said a medical officer. “This is the second time that I would be forced to leave the job.”
Another doctor said that there were over 200 vacancies of medical officers in rural and difficult terrain areas of Kashmir division, but very few postings had been made there “forcing the appointees to believe that the move was a motivated one”.
“What are they gaining by making us suffer and serve in areas where it will be easier for a doctor from Jammu to serve,” he said.
On March 2, Health and Medical Education Department published the list of 210 medical officers as part of the process to fill 900 vacancies in the Health and Family Welfare Department.
The posts are meant to alleviate the healthcare in peripheral areas with better doctor-patient ratio and were created by utilising the vacancies including those earmarked for leave, deputation and training in 2019.
Although the posts were meant to be filled on a fast-track basis and the first selection list was made public within a record time of less than two months, subsequent drop-out by doctors due to new service rules employed to retain more manpower and ensure their presence at places of posting resulted in protraction.
The latest list also has a waiting list of over 200 doctors to fill the posts falling vacant due to dropping out and other reasons.
Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, AtalDulloo told Greater Kashmir that the government was “absolutely transparent” in filling the vacancies.
“The hilly belt of Jammu division and many similar areas in Kashmir division are facing a dire shortage of doctors,” he said. “The government’s priority is to ensure more doctors for people living in these areas.” Dulloo said that it had been recorded that many doctors after getting their appointment orders would by court orders or other means get a transfer from under-served places of posting, leaving the people in “great distress” as they were forced to travel long distances to get treatment.
“We have ensured that all the fresh appointees serve the patients in these areas,” he said. “The newly-formulated residency programme will also aid in ensuring better patient care. The residency programme will require students of medicine to compulsorily serve for three months in rural, hilly and difficult areas.”