SRINAGAR: The J&K government has halted the selection process of nearly 371 doctors in the Health department following a financial crunch.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that the Finance department has grounded the appointment of medical officers in the Health and Medical Education department, despite their selection by the state Public Service Commission (PSC) in January this year.
“The appointment orders are yet to be issued in favour of medical officers, even though two months have already passed,” they said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission had advertised 371 Medical Officer posts on March 27, 2017. In December last year, 2,452 candidates appeared in the written test. Interviews were held for those qualifying on different dates this January. The selection list of candidates was notified by the PSC on January 30.
As per sources, the selection list has been stuck with the Finance department since then because “there are some financial constraints to going ahead with the selected doctors”.
Shortage of doctors is already taking a toll on rural health care. But, the Finance department has stopped the appointment process which, say senior doctors, is unfortunate.
They said the non-issuance of the medical officers’ appointment orders has caused a delay in their joining and has affected health care delivery in rural areas.
As per official data prepared by the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, specialist doctors, including cardiologists, gynaecologists, surgeons, physicians and paediatricians, are not available in most district hospitals.
“There is a sanctioned strength of nearly 1,500 doctors for Valley hospitals run by the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir (DHSK), but only 900 doctors are available for duty while the rest are either absent or deputed on choice postings in medical colleges and other departments,” it said.
In the community health centres of rural Kashmir, there is a shortage of over 150 specialist doctors as against the sanctioned strength of nearly 400 doctors, an administrator told Kashmir Reader on condition of anonymity.
He said the hospitals in rural areas are falling short in every specialty including surgery, paediatrics, medicine, and gynaecology.