Fast-track Appointment of Doctors

Government is still struggling to provide quality healthcare to its citizens. Majority of our Government run hospitals are not able to cater the demands of patients. It was a shocking incident last year when a women from Kalaroos, Kupwara had to deliver a baby on the roadside. The woman belonging to a disadvantaged community was kept under observation for a few hours at the Srinagar’s Government L D hospital after which the doctors there allegedly refused her an overnight stay at the hospital. The rural healthcare system on the other hand is much worse as most of the Primary Health Centers (PHCs) do not have qualified doctors, especially in places like Kupwara , Kishtwar, Doda , Poonch , Bandipora , Ramban etc. To address the dearth of doctors in remote areas Governor administration directed to appoint around 1000 Medical Officers on fast-track basis by amending the doctors’ recruitment policy. J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) was asked to select the doctors by holding a written test only and the interview process  was completely bypassed which is a very good development indeed. Vide Government order No: 49-HME of 2019 Dated : 14.01.2019, Health and Medical Education department took cognizance of lack of proper healthcare facility in rural and inaccessible areas of J&K. The sort of prologue of this order reads : 

“ Whereas taking cognizance of lack of proper medical care facilities in the rural / peripheral areas of the state due to acute shortage of Medical Officers , the health and medical education department worked out a proposal to utilize all the vacancies of medical officers including those earmarked for leave , training and deputation reserves by referring the vacancies to the J&K Public Service Commission for selection purpose on fast track basis in the larger public interest.”

Serving in rural areas

Government vide SRO 202 Dated: 30.06.2015 has made it mandatory for newly appointed Government officials to service in rural and far-flung areas for a period of 5 to 7 yrs. The said SRO was applicable to Non Gazetted employees only , but vide Govt order No:  49-HME of 2019 Dated : 14.01.2019, SRO 202 has been made applicable to  Medical Officers as well who come under Gazetted services cadre.  1000 posts of Medical Officers were referred to J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) by Government after seeking concurrence from Finance Department. Written test was held conducted in the month of December 2018. Out of 1000 posts 430 posts were reserved for SCs , STs , RBAs and others. Within just 2 weeks result was notified which was appreciated by one and all.

Physically not present ?

 Government issued appointment orders in favour of 921 Medical Officers in January 2019. 79 orders were kept in abeyance due to some legal issue. Majority of medical officers joined before the respective Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) or Block Medical Officers (BMOs) but as on date around 50 % of these doctors are allegedly not physically present at their respective rural hospitals. Reason is most of them are undergoing PG courses (MD , MS etc) and this was already made clear to such appointees that they have to chose one out of the two vide Govt order No: 333 HME of 2019 Dated : 14.03.2019. Many PGs are allegedly attending two days of service in Poonch or Kishtwar and then come back to attend their classes. Some BMOs are part of this felonious act who need to be identified.   

Conclusion

After issuing appointment orders to the newly appointed Medical Officers, few notices was served to those who were not present physically present at their place of posting. On the other hand those figuring in the waiting list are not considered at all. What is the fun of making fast track appointments when the appointed doctors are not joining service even after 3 months? Why is Govt reluctant to issue appointment orders in favour of waiting list candidates who fulfil the necessary requirement as per PSC’s Business Rules ?