Anantnag: The Maternity and Child Care Hospital (MCCH) in Anantnag is facing an acute shortage of doctors for a long time now, much to the inconvenience of the people who throng the hospital from all over south Kashmir and from Chenab valley region as well.
The hospital is the only one of its kind in the entire south Kashmir region and has a footfall equalling the busiest hospitals in Srinagar. The hospital was a few years ago associated with the newly established Government Medical College (GMC) Anantnag.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines require the hospital to have about 40 doctors, including 10 senior residents, 10 Junior residents, 7 Medical Officers and others.
“The hospital as of now has only 18 doctors. We are short of at least 22 doctors in different sections,” a source in the hospital told Kashmir Reader, adding, “At least 3 gynaecology medical officer posts are lying vacant and we are supposed to be a maternity specialist hospital.”
The source told Kashmir Reader that over the years, at least 15 doctors have been moved out of the hospital, 4 of them after being promoted and 11 others transferred out.
“We have not got the replacement for a single doctor who was transferred or promoted,” the source said.
Worse, not even a single doctor among the 459 appointed through government order number 938-JK(HME) of 2020 dated December 31, has been posted to the MCH in Anantnag despite the dire need of doctors at the facility.
Doctors that Kashmir Reader talked to at the MCH said that they were facing acute shortage of staff. “We remain overburdened, more so in this time of pandemic. We had to manage with such scarce manpower even when some of our doctors were in quarantine during the initial stages of the pandemic,” a doctor said.
Patients are another lot that is bearing the brunt of this shortfall. “Often you can see attendants of patients getting worked up and quarrelling with the nursing staff. They are not completely at fault as they expect doctors to attend to their patients and not the nursing orderlies,” sources told Kashmir Reader.
Kashmir Reader talked to the Medical Superintendent (MS) of the hospital, Dr Mirji Andrabi, who acknowledged that there was a dearth of doctors at the facility. “We have been regularly writing to the Principal of the GMC for the redress of the issue,” Andrabi said.
Principal GMC Anantnag, Showkat Jeelani, maintained that he has been regularly asking the government to fulfill the staff needs of the hospital. “Yes, we are facing a crunch there as far as the number of doctors is concerned, and it often causes inconvenience to the general public. I have been communicating with the higher-ups on a regular basis and I hope that the issue is addressed soon,” Jeelani said.