Govt learning no lessons: Ignoring creation of posts in specialities hitting patient care


Srinagar: The Health department in Kashmir seems to be struggling with the irrational creation of posts in various specialities. The department has been ignoring key specialities like Paediatrics, Gynaecology, Surgery and Psychiatry.

As per the data available with ‘Kashmir Vision,’ a total number of 77 posts for Gynaecology have been created with only 52 in-position and 25 still lying vacant. The number, which seems not be sufficient to cater to the enormous needs of the population of the entire peripheries.

In case of Paediatrics, there is total number of 58 posts sanctioned, with only 36 in-positions and 22 still lying vacant.

“This sector of the healthcare is in dire need of attention. One the one hand the government has been involved in mushrooming of infrastructure everywhere, it has, so far been unable to establish another Childcare hospital in the valley,” said a senior official of the department, wishing not to be named.

“In addition to the failure of establishing another speciality care hospital, it has also failed in creating additional number of posts with regards to Paediatrics,” the source said.

The number of Surgeons is also painting a grim picture, with only 59 in-position, and 14 posts still lying vacant.

What is more serious is the less number of posts when it comes to Psychiatry, there are only 9 sanctioned posts, with 6 in-position and out of this, 3 posts are still lying vacant.

In terms of mental health, the statistics are equally depressing, ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)’ 2015 study reveals that 1.8 million (45%) adults in Kashmir are having significant symptoms of mental distress, approximately 1.6 million adults (41%) living with significant symptoms of depression, and 415,000 (10%) meeting all the diagnostic criteria for severe depression.

“Given such a scenario the number of mental health experts seems not be sufficient,” said the official.

“With respect to the mental healthcare, the state lacks in terms of infrastructure as well as there is only one Mental Health Institution functional in Srinagar, and in case of peripheries, the whole system is non-existent, “said the official .

Notably, the government is initiating District Mental Health Programme, but it has utterly failed in penetrating in the areas where there is more need of holding such programmes.

As per officials, the programme as of now, is functional only in four districts which include: Ganderbal, Pulwama, Bandipora, and Kulgam, however, as per MSF study, the districts of Baramulla and Budgam reported the highest prevalence rates of symptoms for all three mental disorders, with Baramulla having 48 per cent – 54 per cent and Budgam 44 per cent – 47 per cent prevalence of depression.

Interestingly, the programme has failed to penetrate in these two districts, which is raising questions over the mandate of such a programme.

Amid all this, the government recently said that it has forwarded 500 posts of doctors to the recruiting agency JKPSC for selection, following which they will be posted in the areas having shortage of medicos.

Over 500 posts of doctors have been referred for selection to the recruiting agency (JKPSC), after the selection process, these doctors would be posted in the health institution at far-off areas or the institutions having shortage of medicos.

“The government, however, did not divulge any further details about the deficiency that the healthcare system is facing in terms of specialist doctors, and also, it did not come up with the details about the number of doctors allotted to different specialities out of 500 posts that it said has referred to JKPSS,” said another official.

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