Opposition to proposal brewing among local medical fraternity
Srinagar: The government is contemplating inviting J&K doctors, who are currently working in various parts of India, as faculty members or consultants in the state-run hospitals.
An official draft accessed by Kashmir Reader said that commissioner secretary health and medical education department would discuss the proposal on Monday.
Principals of the Government Medical Colleges at Srinagar and Jammu besides directors health of both regions have been told to attend the meeting.
“Request of (to) senior doctors of Jammu and Kashmir serving in central government as well as in other state governments in India for joining as faculty members/consultants in J&K (sic),” the draft reads.
Internally, the proposal has met stiff resistance as the move is being seen as a ploy to grant “concession” to doctors working outside the state.
“It is a completely flawed and thoughtless proposal as it will supersede rules and procedures. Why would you need to give such concession to doctors working outside? They are already working in the government sector,” said a senior doctor requesting anonymity.
It was learnt the minister for medical and health education department Bali Bhagat has been vigorously pushing this proposal.
Bhagat, junior health minister Asiea Naqash and commissioner secretary health and medical education MK Bhandari did not reply to calls and text messages of this reporter.
“It is legally a flawed proposal. For this proposal the government has to amend rules and then approach the cabinet,” said a senior law department official on condition of anonymity.
Doctors at both medical colleges have started deliberating to stonewall the move.
“How can the government bring people through back door? It is wrong and will set a bad precedent. We are waiting for the outcome of the meeting tomorrow. If the government is eager to bring back doctors from India it should ask them to come through entry posts,” said a top official at the GMC, Srinagar.
Currently, faculty and consultants in the health and medical education are recruited through Public Service Commission.
“By hiring doctors in this manner the government will kill promotional prospects of in-service doctors. It will simply kill merit,” the official added.
According to conservative estimates, about 500 students complete their five-year MBBS degree from the four medical colleges in Jammu and Kashmir. About a similar number of students pass this course from medical institutions in India and abroad, creating an army of unemployed doctors in the state and cut throat competition for a few available posts.
The struggle for jobs has reached a level where a MBBS students and PG doctors have to pass an examination to qualify for even six-month or 12-month in-house jobs and ‘registrarship’ respectively.
“The government should focus on fast tracking recruitment whereby all the vacant posts are filled for providing better healthcare facilities to patients,” said a PG student Anees, who requested that he should be quoted by his first name only.
Official data say about 1000 doctors’ posts are vacant in hospitals across the state. Slow recruitment process forces the majority of them to apply for jobs abroad or private hospitals in the state or other states.
A mid-level bureaucrat in the health department said that unlike in the past, when it would take 20 years or more for a lecturer to reach the professor’s rank, promotions are happening quickly now.
“Even if we lack specialised faculty or consultants, the government can send doctors for advanced training in those areas as other states do rather than importing faculty from outside the state,” he said.