Only 5 Dermatologists for 20 Hospitals?

Today’s planning , usually cannot definitely be for today’s requirements only but a means to resolve uncertainties of future or to brave and ready ourselves for meeting future events successfully. We, very often, keep on putting our medical services and the standard of medical treatment at comparatively on an above the average levels in Jammu and Kashmir primarily for looking at things especially concerning healthcare through a positive prism. Very often, therefore, we feel that we, instead ought to have been viewing things more critically with intent to attract the attention of the ‘higher ups’ in the administration to set things right well in time lest things went out of control as we, helplessly watch in various parts of the country, in respect of management of Novel corona -virus pandemic. Independent of the scenario on account of the pandemic, we are pained to paint a dismal picture on the canvas of the management and planning areas of Health and Medical Education Department in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the area of providing treatment to patients suffering from various skin diseases and about the ‘sanctioned’ posts of Dermatologists.
We have twenty District Hospitals across the Union Territory catering to more than 75 percent population but these hospitals have only five sanctioned posts of Dermatology Consultants or in other words and in simple mathematics , one consultant for every five hospitals. Jammu has three and Kashmir only two sanctioned posts respectively . Let us assume , on an average, one absentee each day on account of sanctioned leave or due to unavoidable circumstances which means the remaining four to cater to 20 hospitals which otherwise due to the limitations and constraints of distance , is practically impossible, as a routine. What is this concept of ‘sanctioned posts’ in context of or in relation to the purpose of such posts which is determined looking to the demand on the ground. Why these sanctioned posts appear to be next to impossible to be reviewed, changed or moulded in relation to actual requirements, is the bane of the whole issue.
We find that posts of these specialist Doctors were created at district levels decades ago when post graduation facilities in this discipline were not available in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir but when such courses are now being conducted and done in all the premier medical institutions of the UT including GMC Jammu, GMC Srinagar and SKIMS and as a result , 15 additional or new Dermatologists are rolled out every year in Jammu and Kashmir , why their services are not utilized here?
What type of planning is this and what a manner of end use of the public money spent on training and shaping the concerned into specialist Doctors is this, that their services are not utilized in the UT and they are compelled to join the private sector? It is here that utter disadvantages and even losses take place due to the obsolete ways of red tape-ism which go against the very roots of the concepts of planning process. Why annual assessment is not carried out in the concerned Hospitals and needs analysed so as to respond to them in time to avoid the situation as the one under reference, to occur at all? The patients suffering from skin ailments from any category, poor or rich, need nothing but treatment right in their vicinity from these Hospitals. The poor, however, are facing constraints of finding alternatives which are costly as well as entailing discomforts and troubles of travelling additional distances. The current scenario, that of corona-virus pandemic, has taught us very bitter but sensitively important lessons which are related to our health and medical education sector. They relate to the type and quality of our planning, projections, analysing environment and associated factors, developing premises, finding out alternatives that are best and workable in emergencies, proper budgeting and follow up action . We better learn and act lest it would be too late. We , therefore, hope that all the 20 Hospitals would soon be reasonably and adequately staffed including the Dermatologists on need based requirements.