Srinagar, Nov. 17: The rural healthcare system in Kashmir is experiencing a significant setback, with multiple unfilled posts for medical experts, negatively hurting both health services in distant regions and increasing the burden on tertiary care facilities.
In order to examine the scarcity of healthcare staff in rural regions, our reporter filed a Right to Information (RTI) request with the Health Department, which revealed a disturbing reality.
The comments from several areas painted a harsh picture of empty posts, which greatly hampered the health sector in Kashmir.
The Block Medical Officer (BMO) Handwara highlighted openings, including two medical officer posts at PHC Chogal, one empty dental surgeon position in PHC Magam, one medical officer position in PHC Batpora, and two medical officer positions in PHC Natnussa.
The BMO Yaripora reaction included open openings such as gynecologists, consultants in anesthesia, medical officers, and other critical roles.
The BMO Bandipora reported that six medical officer roles and two health inspector positions are open within its jurisdiction.
This vacancy trend reflects the underlying reasons for the increased number of needless referrals.
A senior health department official emphasized the critical need to strengthen rural healthcare while noting continuing efforts to create new government medical colleges (GMCs) and district hospitals.
However, the official emphasized the significance of fully staffing these healthcare facilities to fulfill local criteria.
In a recent interview with Greater Kashmir, Director Health Kashmir disclosed that all openings have been forwarded to recruitment organizations such as the Service Selection Board (SSB) and the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Despite these precautions, allegations of unwarranted referrals continue, forcing the Directorate of Health Service Kashmir (DHSK) to issue an order requiring night rounds by medical superintendents of district and sub-district hospitals. This guideline, issued on the specific directions of the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, attempts to address the problem of unnecessary referrals to tertiary care facilities.