Srinagar: Reacting to the recent appointment of Dr Shabir Sediqui on the post of Medical Superintendent of LD Hospital, the Jammu and Kashmir Doctors Coordination Committee (JKDCC) said on Sunday that such an appointment discourages hardworking medical professionals.
“It’s a serious issue concerning all of us, especially those associated with the medical profession, because the favouritism in administration has ruined the health department. This has also given rise to unaccountability and corruption among the officials,” JKDCC spokesperson Dr Mir Mushtaq said.
He demanded a foolproof selection mechanism through a recruiting agency. “Selection criteria are a must to select administrators at every level. I will prevent favouritism in the appointment process as well. The government should designate some recruiting authority which will appoint Medical Superintendents, CMOs, BMOs and HoDs, following all rules and procedures,” Dr Mushtaq said.
President of the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), Dr Suhail Naik, termed the appointment of the LD Hospital administrator as an injustice with talented and qualified professionals. “We have hundreds of doctors who have completed degrees in Hospital Administrations and worked on administrative posts. How can the government ignore them?” he questioned.
“When there is pick-and-choose in the recruitment process, the system is bound to collapse. The government should stop the trend of appointing influential doctors and administrators in the health department,” Dr Naik said.
Senior member of Kashmir Centre for Development and Social Studies (KCDS), Syed Shakeel Qalander, said favouritism and nepotism has taken a toll on all rules and regulations in J&K. “People are being recruited as per the will of politicians, without following any rules. In Jammu, appointments are being done on the behest of the BJP, while the PDP takes the lead in seeking price postings for their favourites and relatives here. This trend must end, so that good sense can prevail,” he said.
“It’s not for the first time that favourites are being given out-of-turn promotions. Recently, a premiere health institution of Kashmir faced a similar situation when its Director was removed to facilitate the entry of a blue-eyed doctor,” Qalander said.
The criticism from doctors is coming for the government’s appointment of Dr Shabir Sediqui, a consultant anaesthetist, on the post of Medical Superintendent of LD Hospital. The appointment was done on recommendations from the Chief Minister’s office.
Dr Sediqui’s appointment violated the J&K Medical Education (Gazetted) Recruitment Rules 1979 (SRO of 2013) because he did not have the administrative experience mandatory for the post of Medical Superintendent.
The rules say that a doctor should have administrative experience of five years to be eligible for the post of Medical Superintendent of a hospital associated with a Government Medical College (GMC).
Dr Shabir was appointed as B-Grade Specialist (now Consultant), Anaesthesia, in 2008 for the Health and Medical Education Department. Later he served in different hospitals as Anaesthetist without any posting as administrator.
As per official sources, Dr Shabir’s appointment is not the first such appointment. Most of the administrative posts including of Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Chief Medical Officers, Medical Superintendents, Block Medical Officers and Principals are being held by doctors on ad-hoc basis.
“The Health Department has also filled various Head of Department (HoD) posts by appointing junior doctors, superseding their senior colleagues,” said a senior official in the health department.
“The seniority list was kept aside in posting of these officials. There are a number of doctors who figure at the bottom of the list, but they are being given plum postings after using political and bureaucratic clout,” he said.