SKIMS has come of age

It is a proud occasion for us to celebrate the 37th Annual Day of SKIMS-the Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences. SKIMS has successfully delivered decades of uninterrupted service to the society and SKIMS fraternity needs congratulations for a job well-done. SKIMS Objective was and continues to be that there shall be no need for next patient in need of tertiary-care to go out as SKIMS shall deliver the most sophisticated and modern management (equal or better than available anywhere in the World) to all such patients with complex diseases. Focus has to be on Quality, while maintaining Quantity through state-of-art tertiary care, cutting edge research on diseases prevalent in the region to save lives and generate high quality manpower. Conceptually, SKIMS was built as a as a free-for-service facility and not a pay-for-service facility. I believe SKIMS has fulfilled its objectives, has maintained focus on quality in patientcare, research and teaching and delivered high quality services at a nominal cost to the poor and needy. All this is indeed a remarkable feat accomplished. This could only be achieved by highly committed manpower who have over the years spend their precious moments within the four walls of this sacred place of service.

SKIMS is a national asset and an Institution of great public importance.  Life of every person in our society is connected with the optimum delivery of this institution. Medical community of the nation and the whole world is watching SKIMS for the message it gives about the developments in medical field. I believe we have a huge potential to perform, in view of the large pool of intelligent manpower available and unexplored diseases in this inbred society. To implement SKIMS concept, hundreds of top medical brains of the country and the West debated for years and every aspect of the Institute, structure and functioning, was drafted. These policies and practices formed the nerve of this institution and SKIMS came with a big bang at National and International arena in its very infancy.

Over the years SKIMS has had many threats to its existence which included:

  1. Social transformation inherent in the “Area of Conflict”
  2.  Exodus of the medical personal
  3.  Inability to attract Men-of-Imminence from outside,
  4. Excessive pressure on the existing skeletal staff
  5.  Higher incidence of diseases, especially related to Cancer, Diabetes mellitus, Coronary artery diseases, Liver diseases, Strokes etc.,
  6. Changing epidemiology of diseases with trauma and mental health disorders as front runners.  

However, SKIMS has adapted to all these changes and has taken positions on many vital issues. Also, policies and practices framed and so vital to State-of-Art care have been modified accordingly & optimally. With continuous rapid advances in medical practice, SKIMS has kept pace with newer developments by continuously introducing new technology and have employed new faculty of imminence trained to deliver the best. All this should make SKIMS fraternity feel proud of their achievements under such difficult conditions.

As SKIMS is committed to maintain its heights in areas of patientcare, research and teaching, many doctrines inherent to deliver the best need to be under focus and constant watch. These include:

  1. Always to keep objective of SKIMS in focus & implement/alter policies & practices to achieve it. We need to create and maintain optimum working environment for public satisfaction, optimum patientcare and safe practices.
  2. To maintain faculty of imminence by continuously training existing faculty in new technologies and employing new faculty who are trained to deliver the best.
  3. Develop/promote excellent hospital services which will have major impact on public service, patient satisfaction and SKIMS perception. It is worthwhile to have academic review of each service periodically & enforce/change guidelines to maintain quality of services.
  4. Maintain high quality of care in consonance with the primary SKIMS goal. The debate between Quantity vs. Quality is a valid question even as of today and what all needs to be done is to maintain Quality care while treating numbers.
  5. Continue to conduct cutting edge research, which should focus on diseases affecting the common man and should be of high standards and be able to save lives, reduce human suffering and alleviate human anguish and pain.
  6. Implement/maintain Primary-Physician Policy by giving logistic support to faculty on-call team within SKIMS. It will have major impact on patientcare, help patient satisfaction & confidence, improve quality of care, enforce safe practices and help resident training.
  7. Expand Time-Schedule [8AM to 6PM] by 2-shift system for staff in selected areas of service like Theatre, Imaging, laboratory, clinics, etc. This shall enhance productivity, reduce waiting time, improve availability of services. This has been practiced in the past with excellent results.   
  8. Curb inter-personal faculty conflicts by counselling, interaction and words of wisdom from the seniors.
  9. Implement ban on private practice in letter & spirit. This shall have major impact in working atmosphere of SKIMS.  While doing so, maintain dignity and respect of the faculty. Ban can be enforced through step-wise  procedure like counseling/warning and may be limiting facilities, promotions, other benefits, etc.  Suspensions and other harsh measures only to be implemented under rare of the rare circumstances. Defining privatepractice a criminal act is unfortunate and this order needs to be withdrawn.
  10. Continue to maintain Policy Procedure Practice Regulations (IPPR’s) about patientcare; Enforce M & M (Morbidity & Morbidity) to protect patient’s safety; Implement Material Management Policy as it existed in the past and maintain administrative hierarchy for personal and policy matters of SKIMS, which shall improve staff satisfaction and helpmaintain confidentiality of records.

It is a matter of great satisfaction that, of late, there are concerted efforts to redefine the concepts of this great Institution. SKIMS is being redefined from an administrative department to an Institution with high values in Academics, Research, teaching, high quality patientcare and society-friendly measures to help the needy, the oppressed and the poor. SKIMS fraternity and in particular SKIMS faculty is a great national asset. We should do all that is needed to maintain the SKIMS fraternity in house and satisfied, support them to do the best and make SKIMS environment to attract faculty/staff of high calibre. A note should be taken of the political and administrative vendetta which SKIMS fraternity/faculty may be subjected to for reasons outside the domain of administrative norms. By these important concepts, SKIMS should be sought for the positionas anAutonomous baby, which shall be able to take decisions of its own without much interferencefrom political and administrative breaks and develop its own checks and balances. SKIMS fraternity will have/need little time to spend approachingthose in power for getting little benefits and advantages. I am sure all this shall enhance the glory of SKIMS and pave way for counting this pearl in to a national and international monument. I pray that all of us take a new oath to re-explore for a new glorious beginning of SKIMS. God bless…

Prof. Mohammad Sultan Khuroo isformer Director, Professor and Head Gastroenterology, Chairman Dept. Medicine, Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, Srinagar, Kashmir, India. ( khuroo@yahoo.com )