Termination of Medical Officers

Can we call the recent decision of the Government of termination of as many as 61 Medical Officers (MOs) as infructuous or an act of jejuneness amidst many opportunities provided to them intermittently, nothing short of fervent requests made, to join their duties, perhaps reminding them of the importance of the oath of hippocrates to uphold specific ethical standards, topping which is to serve and cure the humanity in distress, pain and disease. On the one hand, Jammu and Kashmir State is reeling under the acute shortage of doctors not only in hospitals in the cities and towns but in the vast rural areas where many Health centres are even “run” by one or two members on the para-medical staff as there is either no doctor or the one has to attend more than one Health Centres.
It sounds paradoxical that despite setting up of new Medical Colleges and institutions and rolling out of new doctors from such professional institutions and associated hospitals to replenish the existing insufficient staff by joining their duties and serving the people who need their attention and care the most, majority of them indulge in luxuries of not joining their duties at the places of posting even though doing the formality of submitting their “joining reports” perhaps to carve for two birds to be caught with a single hand or to opt for the comparatively fatter one . By such approach, such MOs keep the authorities guessing and waiting for them to report for duties. Such a scenario, ab-initio looks sans the requisite level of responsibility and the commitment to serve those for whom they opted for taking up the world’s most respected profession.
To better the facilities for the patients by posting additional but much required Doctors, as many as 45 were posted in hospitals of Jammu and 16 were posted in Kashmir. It is reported that despite extending joining time of other MOs followed by serving notices on them, one after the other, the concerned ones did not report for duties and hence gave their nod and approval of their not being interested in the job or in other words, facilitated termination instead of either refusing the appointment initiallyor by resigning their positions subsequently. There are cries about the professionals not being given jobs and there being not enough opportunities for them in the State, at the same time, such a situation as the one under reference, aborts all plans and implementation of schemes for healthcare by the Government by turning down the jobs offer by the job seekers like the concerned MOs.
Under such circumstances, we can cite the example of training our soldiers belonging to any of the wings for years together, spending a lot of public money and after rolling out of the Defence Schools and institutions, they straightaway report for duties to take up their new assignments. In the same way, how much public money is spent by the Government to train a doctor for the only obvious aim, can be visualised but if anyone or most of them prefer to join somewhere else either for more pecuniary gains or for quick subsequent promotions, who would look after and cure thousands in pain and discomfort? Should a mechanism be put in vogue to put certain binding commitments, if not rules, to be adhered to compulsorily by a medical student at the time of seeking admission and more so, after leaving the institution as a qualified doctor to pre-empt the situation like the one under reference, otherwise most of those who are posted in rural areas shall be found reluctant in serving the more deserving people there with less or no alternate arrangements. The case under reference extends a lot of scope for that.