The State Department of Health and Medical Education has come under severe criticism by no less persons than the MLAs drawn not only from the opposition but also from independent and treasury benches. Such tirades from across the board are seen seldom but since it has happened and with much earnestness, consequently the Government feels pilloried.
The main complaint is about the acute shortage of doctors and paramedical manpower in the district hospitals and rural healthcare centers. Shortage of doctors in almost all district hospitals and particularly in Trauma Hospitals is acute. The MLAs complained that though the Government says that Trauma Hospitals have been provided with all necessary equipment and manpower, the reality is quite the reverse. The independent MLA from Udhampur exploded the claim of the Health Minister that the Trauma Hospital was equipped with all necessary paraphernalia and said that in the aftermath of recent tragic road accident, he had himself carried the seriously wounded to the Command Hospital Udhampur because the Trauma Hospital lacked necessary facility.
The irony is that much trumpeting is done about the Trauma Hospitals as an achievement of this Government. The idea is fine particularly when we know that the National Highway passes over the stupendous hilly track where the sword hangs on the head of passengers all the time of their travel. Having a couple of Trauma Hospitals along this 200 miles long route from Jammu to Srinagar could provide immediate medical aid to the wounded and traumatized passenger becoming victims of a road accident. Alas! there are words and words and promises only and the ground situation is something different.
Yet another surprising thing is that there are sanctioned posts of doctors/surgeons but these are left unfilled since a long time. The Public Service Commission has its own problems which the Government is loath to sort out and the result is that holding of examinations/interview is deferred indefinitely. Those who are at the helm of affairs have very little sense that they owe responsibility to the society in the shape of providing doctors to the hospitals. Get into touch with the higher authorities of the Health Department or even the Minister, their patent answer is that recruitment of doctors is actively in process. That process has been going on for years and there seems no end to it
The anger and disappointment of the Members of Legislative Assembly was so sharp and scathing that not satisfied with the laconic reply of the Health Minister, they staged a walk out. The people suffer, the prospective candidates for employment as regular doctors suffer, the MLAs suffer and the society at large suffers. Who is going to break the impasse and when? This is the nagging question. Suffering of poor and helpless people has no limits.