SRINAGAR: The government is still indecisive about nearly 200 absent doctors in J&K as they continue to illegally abandon their services from different healthcare institutions despite several reminders and notices served to them by the health department.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that hospitals run by the directorate of health services in Kashmir and Jammu face acute shortage of doctors as hundreds of doctors are absent from their services for many years.
“Government is yet to decide about 200 doctors who have not joined back their duties despite several reminders from the health department for last many years. The health department has terminated only 100 doctors in last 5 years in J&K for prolonged absence from services. However, they are callous to take action against other absentees,” they said.
Most of them are working outside J&K and abroad after abandoning the services illegally, sources said.
They said around 60 of them had been overstaying in different medical colleges of the state after completing their MD/MS and other PG courses with their posts illegally occupied at the directorate run hospitals.
“Over 140 doctors are busy in private practices and simply neglected the transfer to remote villages in Kashmir and Jammu hospitals,” a senior health department administrator told Kashmir Reader.
“They simply enjoyed the salary and kept silent about their absence from the government hospitals. Show-cause notices have also been sent to them many times to which they chose not to respond,” he said.
However, the government instead of sacking these doctors for their unauthorized absence kept mum over the issue since 2015.
Under such a situation, patients suffer immensely, especially in rural areas where doctors are absent from duty. Even though doctors have been posted to the government hospitals in the villages, they never report to the workplaces owing to poor living conditions there.
“They should not join government services if they do not find it suitable to move to villages or travel daily,” the administrator argued.
According to official figures, the hospitals working under the directorate of health services Kashmir, are facing a shortage of over 700 doctors while hospitals of Jammu province working under its health directorate have 855 vacancies of doctors as only 1148 doctors are working against 2003 sanctioned posts of doctors.
Director Health Services, Kashmir Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman said the issue was taken up by him with the government.
“We have already requested the government to issue a show cause notice to all the doctors who have abandoned their service illegally,” he said.
Similar views have been expressed by the Director Health Services Jammu, Dr Gurjeet Singh. He said the action against absent doctors was in the pipeline.
“We have recently sent a list of 42 doctors to the administrative department to take the final call. Let’s hope things work out soon and we get a positive response,” he said.
According to officials, charges have been framed against these absent doctors and along-with show-cause notices, newspaper notices were also issued against them since their whereabouts were not known.
“Even after these measures, they neglected their duty and refused to respond assuming that the government would soon forget about it. It was absolutely necessary to make it known to them that the days of sit back and earn is gone,” said a Jammu-based health official.
He said that dismissing these long-absent doctors was necessary because without sacking the doctors already occupying the posts, new doctors could not be recruited to fill up the vacancy.
“They are simply sitting back somewhere enjoying the salary while the poor people of villages have been deprived of health care treatments which the government provides through the transfer of doctors to rural areas,” the official said.