Srinagar: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has estimated a shortage of more than 1,100 doctors in rural hospitals in J&K. As per the latest Rural Health Statistics (RHS), there is a shortage of 1,120 doctors in hospitals of rural areas where 887 posts of doctors have been lying vacant for several years.
The statistics say there is a shortage of 784 general-duty doctors at Primary Health Centers and Community Health Centers, which also face a shortage of 336 specialists.
There are only 761 doctors working in Primary Health Centers (PHCs) against the sanctioned strength of 1,347.
Similarly, Community Health Centers have only 190 specialist doctors available against 344 sanctioned posts.
The ministry’s report has attributed various reasons for such shortage, chief among them the unwillingness of doctors to serve in rural areas.
The report says the situation has not improved despite several incentives and benefits to doctors for serving in rural areas.
To encourage doctors to work in remote and difficult areas, the Medical Council of India has amended the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000, to provide 50 percent of all seats in Post Graduate Diploma Courses to Medical Officers in government service who have served at least three years in remote and difficult areas.
“After acquiring the PG Diploma, the Medical Officers shall serve for two more years in remote and/or difficult areas; incentive at the rate of 10 percent of the marks obtained for each year in service in remote or difficult areas and up to the maximum of 30 percent of the marks obtained in the entrance test for admissions in Post Graduate Medical Courses (is given to such doctors),” the amended regulations say.
However, the situation continues to remain distressing as most doctors prefer posting in cities.
The report says that public health institutions and hospitals are a state subject, which is why administrative and personnel matters, including recruitment, fall within the jurisdiction of the state.
“However, under NHM (National Health Mission), the State/UT Governments are advised from time to time to expedite recruitment of health human resources to fill vacant posts in various public health facilities,” the ministry’s report says.