When in 2007, union health ministry announced super specialty hospital (SSH), one each for Jammu and Srinagar, the idea was to take healthcare in state to the next level. But over a decade later, the premier health institutions are “functioning” without faculty, literally.
Sample this: In Srinagar’s SSH, against 14 positions of professors 13 are vacant. The lone position has been filled in the department of gastroenterology.
The same is true for SSH Jammu where against 15 positions of professors only one is in place which is in the department of cardio-vascular thoracic surgery (CVTS). The remaining posts have not been filled till date. These revelations have come to the fore in the manpower audit of J&K’s health sector conducted by health and medical education department.
The SSH Jammu became “functional” in 2013 with six departments: Cardiology, CTVS, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Nephrology and Urology. On the other hand, in the past two years at least nine departments including six surgical, have been shifted to the SSH Srinagar from the GMC Srinagar.
Since 2011, when the first recruitment drive for SSH Jammu and Srinagar was launched, no fresh recruitments have taken place. As a result, each department has a handful of doctors, making “full-fledged” functioning of the departments difficult.
Despite “shifting” their base, most departments in SSH Srinagar continue to do almost all the surgeries in operation theatres (OTs) of SMHS hospital owing to delay in ensuring facilities and recruiting manpower for the already sanctioned posts.
Recently, the shifting of a few faculty members by the health department from GMC Srinagar and Jammu to SSHs without referring the posts to the J&K Public Service Commission (PSC), has been challenged in the court of law.
Professors apart, the situation is equally worse at the lower levels. All the 16 positions of associate professors are vacant in Srinagar SSH while as in Jammu of the 15 such positions 13 are vacant, as per the audit report.
Likewise 10 of the 17 positions of assistant professors created in Jammu SSH were never filled up and in Srinagar just six of the 26 such positions have been filled up.At the level of lecturers the situation is no good either. A total of 51 positions of lecturers, 36 for Srinagar and 15 for Jammu, referred to the PSC at different points of time, have not been filled till date, the report reads.
The situation is such that out of total 174 faculty positions in the two hospitals, 135 (77 percent) are vacant.
A senior official said lack of manpower – doctors, technicians and nursing staff— was an impediment in making the institutions fully and independently functional.“Apart from the lack of planning in design, construction and procurement, the recruitment of the manpower is being delayed endlessly,” he said.