Of 34 doctors appointed, only 7 working in Gurez hospitals

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Acute shortage of doctors forces DC Bandipora to appeal for volunteers

SRINAGAR: The hospitals of Gurez area in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district are facing an acute shortage of doctors. Only seven doctors are presently working in the health centres of the tehsil as against the 34 appointed for it.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that most of the doctors transferred to the far-flung health centres of Gurez have managed their postings in urban areas, violating guidelines about mandatory rural postings.
“Doctors who are appointed for hospitals of Gurez evade the posting by using political influence, court stays or any other force, thereby depriving the ailing population of basic access to health care services,” they said.
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora Shahid Choudhary told Kashmir Reader that he has recommended strict action against those escaping the Gurez posting despite their selection under the Scheduled Tribe quota.
“We have sent many recommendations to the administrative department to streamline the hospitals in far-flung areas of Bandipora district including termination of those evading the mandatory posting in remote areas,” he said.
The Deputy Commissioner recently took to micro-blogging site Twitter and appealed to MBBS doctors to volunteer for serving in the area.
“Gurez is facing an acute shortage of doctors. Looking for MBBS docs volunteering to serve here. Rs 65,000 + accommodation to begin with. Relaxed service conditions. Pl RT and help us reach such professionals,” Choudhary wrote on his Twitter handle.
The tweet generated a debate on social media over the problems faced by people due to the shortage of doctors in far-flung areas. The post has received more than 1,200 retweets and 1,500 likes in less than 24 hours. It was also shared on other social media platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp.
Netizens have also expressed shock over the violation of rural posting requirements by doctors appointed on the Scheduled Tribe quota.
According to Choudhary, only 12 doctors have completed their two years of mandatory posting in Gurez out of 30 doctors appointed for different health centres.
He said nearly 30 doctors were appointed for Gurez tehsil and four doctors were posted under the school health programme to run the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) scheme. But, most of the health centres are lying defunct as no doctor could be posted there.
“Only seven doctors are presently working in the entire Gurez area. They are posted there for more than five years. But, others are not willing to serve in the area. Under RBSK scheme, none of the four doctors appointed under it has joined their duties so far, despite the passing of many years when the scheme was started,” DC said.
According to him, most of the doctors manage their transfer after using court stay and other means of influence.
He said the appeal he made on Twitter had received a good response as nearly 72 doctors have expressed their willingness to serve in the far-flung tehsil.
“We got a good response from people who contacted me through email and social media. We are now working out for the recruitment process so that genuine people can be selected,” he said.
Choudhary said that the Governor Administration had approved a special incentive for doctors willing to serve in the area.
“The Governor Administration has already approved the increase in salary for doctors who will serve in Gurez. It was important to attract more and more doctors to choose this posting in far-flung areas,” he said.
As per official figures, 10 doctors were transferred to nearly 15 health centres and community health centres in Bandipora last year in November. But none of the doctors have joined their new places of posting till date.
“Seven of the transferred doctors were specialists for Sub-district Hospital, Gurez. But, currently, due to the shortage of staff critical care and other specialised services are getting affected,” said an administrator.