SRINAGAR: One of the key reasons for over-crowding in hospitals in Srinagar is the fact that patients from other districts of the Kashmir region are forced to come to the city for treatment. While the state government claims to have created basic infrastructure in most of these areas, it has seemingly forgotten to appoint doctors and paramedical staff.
According to official data available with Kashmir Reader, the state’s Health Department, which—as per government-sanctioned posts—should have been run by 4,527 doctors and 11,114 paramedics is short of 1,720 doctors and 2,300 paramedical staff.
According to data, there are 952 positions of doctors vacant against the sanctioned 2,090 in Jammu region while 654 are vacant against the sanctioned 2,308 in Kashmir. Similarly, 1,202 paramedical positions are vacant against the sanctioned 4,543 in Jammu region while that figure is 1,262 against the sanctioned 6,371 in the Kashmir region.
In the Valley, there are vacancies of 440 doctors, 227 consultants, 35 dental surgeons and 13 senior consultants. Further, in the districts of Kupwara, Ganderbal and Budgam 139, 60 and 66 positions of doctors are vacant, respectively.
This paucity of medical staff forces patients in rural areas to visit hospitals in Srinagar city for basic health treatment. For instance, the OPD at SKIMS receives, on average, 2,300 patients every day which far exceeds its capacity. Similarly, SMHS, maternity hospital Lad Ded and children’s hospital GB Pant also receive patients far exceeding their capacity.
As a result, a doctor who, as per Medical Council of India guidelines, should examine 30 patients a day has to treat more than 100 in these hospitals.
In response, Minister of State for Health Aasiya Naqash told Kashmir Reader that the vacant positions have been sent to recruitment agencies: “I know that due to these vacancies patients have had to suffer, but it was not our fault. Our government inherited these vacancies from the previous government. We have worked hard for the last seven months, completed all the formalities and sent these posts to recruitment agencies. The process has been initiated and they will be filled soon.”