J&K’s faces serious shortage of specialists; young docs running out of state: MOHFW report

Bharti Jasrotia

While Jammu and Kashmir was awarded by national magazine for having best health care infrastructure in the country, a report of the union health ministry has brutally trashed all these claims and unveiled the real picture.

From, government hospitals to community healthcare centers, doctors are missing. Do not think that they are not serving in the institutions but get to know that young doctors prefer to work anywhere outside the state but not in Jammu and Kashmir. According to the data available with Newspoint bureau, 637 doctors were required to run primary health care centers across the state. The government went a step ahead and sanctioned 1352 posts of doctors in the primary health centers.

These posts were advertised properly, interviews were held, offer letters were given and a promise was made with them to provide all kinds of benefits that they dream of. Yet, these doctors even after having qualified the interviews, more than 518 doctors preferred to move outside the state. They preferred working in private hospitals across the country than serving in their own state nothing criticized them.

Not even the fact that cost of living is lower in Jammu and Kashmir when compared with metropolitan cities, where they are serving these days in private hospitals. The data further revealed that of the 834 doctors working in primary health care centers, most of these are those who have done their MBBS from outside the state and in several cases from outside the country.

They are not specialist and super specialist but simple MBBS doctors. More shocking for health minister Bali Bhagat is the fact that in several of these community health care centers, primary healthcare centers and district hospitals, allopathic doctors are performing the duties of MBBS doctors.

Though this idea of involving allopathic doctors is good but the handicap of these doctors is that their practical experience falls seriously short of this standard set by medical council of India. In most cases, according to the report patients even with minor injuries are referred to higher institutions i.e. community healthcare centers to primary healthcare centers then to district hospitals.

The district hospitals do the rest and refer the patient to hospital in the twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar. Report, further categorically says critically ill patients do not survive since these centers are several hundred kilometers away from the twin capital cities. At the community healthcare center level, there is serious shortage of duty medical officers. Against 772 sanctioned post,533 are in place. This is despite the fact that government advertised and re-advertised these posts but failed to find doctors capable of running these health centers.

Despite having got the award for best healthcare infrastructure there is serious shortage of specialist at the community healthcare centers. These specialists include surgeons, obstetricians, gynecologists, physicians and pediatricians’. Against 343 sanctioned post of specialist, a huge number of 176 are vacant. This is almost 50 percent of the total sanctioned post.

In this back drop one can only imagine how CHCs, PHCs, and district hospitals are functioning without specialists. This points towards another interesting fact that whosoever becomes a specialist finds nothing attractive in state healthcare sector and leaves for greener postures outside the country.

It further point out that there is something seriously flawed in the healthcare sector of Jammu and Kashmir because of which things are going from bad to worse. If this migration of doctors from Jammu and Kashmir continues at this pace, time is not far when Ayurvedic doctors would be running all the hospitals of the state.


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