Shortage of specialized docs hits healthcare badly

GMC Kathua on verge of becoming a ‘defunct’ Institute

Goldi Sharma

JAMMU, June 2: Lack of specialized doctors and supporting staff is hitting the functioning of the newly established Government Medical College Kathua as most of the departments are working with less than 50 percent manpower which adversely affects public healthcare.
The Jammu and Kashmir Government had created more than 800 posts during its announcement including one Professor, two Associate Professors, four Assistant Professors, six Registrars/Senior Residents and 12 Junior Residents for most of the vital departments of the College but ironically the posts of Professors and Associate Professors of some major departments are still vacant, while junior most doctors (Assistant Professors) are being forced to run the departments in absence of Professors and Associate Professors.
Well placed sources informed Excelsior that the Principal of the College has time and again written to higher rung officials to fulfill these posts for the smooth functioning of the departments, but nothing has been done by the officials so far.
In Medicine, only one post of Professor is filled, while all the posts of Associate Professors are lying vacant. However, presently the department has three Assistant Professors posts against the four sanctioned posts but all of them have applied for General Medicine in the AIIMS Jammu.
“If someone is selected for AIIMS Jammu which also adversely affects the functioning of the department because one Assistant Professor has already joined the GMC Jammu by resigning from there,” said a senior faculty member while wishing anonymity.
He further said that recently the GMC Kathua had completed the process to engage senior and junior residents for various departments but their joining are still hanging in balance due to unlimited delaying in verification of documents by CID and Police Department.
In Anesthesiology, the Professor post is occupied, while one post of Associate Professor is vacant against the two posts. However, three posts of Assistant Professors are fulfilled but one Assistant Professor has been selected for GMC Jammu and the post is also likely to fall vacant in near future, while all the eight posts of Senior and Junior Residents are also lying vacant.
In General Surgery, against the sanctioned strength of 26, only four posts are filled including a Professor, an Associate Professor and two Assistant Professors and rest of them including two each Associates and Assistant Professors as well as 18 posts of Senior and Junior Residents are lying vacant due to lackadaisical approach of the J&K administration towards rural healthcares, said an official.
In Pediatrics, against the sanctioned strength of 13 posts, an Associate Professor is heading the department along with two Assistant Professors and one Registrar while other posts of Seniors and including Professors are lying vacant due to unknown reasons.
In Dermatology, Venereology & Leprosy, an Assistant Professor is manning the department along with two Senior Residents, while other posts are not filled against the sanctioned strength of 13 posts, while same saga of Psychiatry Department, an Assistant Professor is running the department along with two Senior Residents against the allotted strength of eight, whereas in Radio-therapy, only one post (Assistant Professor ) is working against the allotted strength of 13 post and 12 posts are still lying vacant so far.
In Dentistry, only one Assistant Professor along with two Senior Residents are running the department while sanctioned strength of the department is five including one Professor and Associate Professor.
Although, during the pandemic period, the premier institute of Kathua had sufficient manpower in term of Junior Doctors and the way they handled the Covid patients is appreciable but now, the Institution is facing shortage of specialized doctors that too due to ‘brain drain’ towards already established iInstitutions of J&K like AIIMS and GMCs. “The Government should make a comprehensive policy for the recruitment of newly established Medical Colleges, so that a specialized faculty of each department can serve the people in real sense,” said a Senior Faculty of the College.