In a sharp contrast to the government’s claim of rapidly improving health sector in the state, the quality of healthcare in most of the hospitals adversely affect the delivery of patient care services, due to the huge load per doctor.
Sources in the health department said that the situation is worst in the hospitals at some district headquarters both in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Every time when the issue of shortage of manpower is raised at any forum the ball is put in the court of recruiting agencies-Public Services Commission and Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board, but no serious efforts were ever made to exert pressure on these recruiting agencies to expedite the recruitment process so that real objective and vision of the Health and Medical Education Department is achieved”, sources remarked.
One of the officials in the health department has told KNS that the demand and provision of services has increased over the years, but due to shortage of doctors, the quality of services is bound to suffer,” said the official.
Sources said that the prevailing scenario vis-à-vis availability of doctors can be gauged from the figures which reveal that the doctor-patient ratio in Jammu Kashmir is 1:1880 against the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) of 1:1000. “Nothing has changed considerably on the ground from the shortage of doctors. Most of the district hospitals have become referral hospitals, while the Government Medical College Hospitals have been flooded with patients from other districts and the hospital administration is facing extreme hardships in providing better healthcare facilities to all the patients”, sources said.
On the other hand sources in the health department have said that despite several benefits, doctors don’t want to go to the rural areas because of various reasons. “They don’t get good facilities for their families such as education and ease of living as they get in urban cities,” said a senior health ministry official.
“We are trying our level best to move doctors to rural areas because these areas too require good healthcare services.”
Minister of health and medical education, Asiya Naqash told KNS that the requirement for additional human resource in hospitals is being seriously considered. “We have streamlined the health sector in the state. Government is on job to fill the vacancies for the better health services,” she maintained.
Meanwhile one of the doctors said that the subsequent governments have failed to fix the ailing health sector – the brunt of which is being primarily faced by the people in rural areas. “From news reports, you will come to know about fights between medicos and attendants over petty issues in the rural hospitals every third day which is an indication of the fact that doctors are not able to provide desired care to all the patients, but who cares?” said the doctor wishing anonymity.