No operations will be performed at the District Hospital Kulgam between the hours of 4 pm and 10 am
Nadia Farooq

The doctor shortage is having an impact on healthcare in general, leading to an increase in referrals.

Kulgam: The dearth of doctors in District Hospital Kulgam is severely hitting patient care in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, with the vital operation theatres remaining functional for barely six hours.

A health official said that this hospital was a district hospital only on paper but was still functioning as a sub-district hospital (SDH).


“In 2007, after Kulgam was declared the district, only the name of the hospital was changed from SDH Kulgam to DH Kulgam. However, the staff strength remains the same,” he said.

An official said the hospital has only 33 sanctioned posts for doctors, out of which only 13 are specialists and the rest are medical officers.

“Even out of this sanctioned staff, a post for a senior consultant specialist and a medical officer is vacant,” he said.

An official said that several doctors, who mostly comprise medical officers posted in different blocks of the district, are working on a temporary arrangement in the hospital.

“The vital Gynaecology Department is run by only two consultants sanctioned for the hospital, three medical officers, and two more appointed through NHM,” he said. “Barely any caesareans are done in the hospital during the night hours.  Hence, the pregnant ladies opt for Anantnag Maternity Hospital or city hospitals during delivery, overburdening them further.”

The health official said there are two sanctioned consultant posts for surgery.

“One consultant, a junior consultant, and three medical officers are working on a temporary arrangement. Even minor surgeries are referred, and any accident case from 4 p.m. onwards till 10 a.m. the next day is not admitted at all,” he said.

“There is only one consultant orthopedician post-sanctioned for the hospital,” the doctor said.

He said, similarly, that one ENT consultant post was lying vacant, and only one ENT specialist, assisted by two odd medical officers, managed the section.

“There is one sanctioned post for consultant ophthalmology and one medical officer whose original posting is in Yaripora, run by the department,” the health official said.

He said that in addition to a medical officer, only two consultant physicians are sanctioned for the hospital, while another one is working on an attachment basis.

“The paediatric section of the hospital is run by a single consultant paediatrician and a few odd medical officers, hitting the child care severely,” the health official said.

The absence of specialist radiologists forces the patients to undergo investigations and subsequent treatment in private clinics or city hospitals.

“It is ironic that despite the hospital being equipped with USG and CT scans, not a single post has been sanctioned for radiology, and three medical officers, two of whom have diplomas, are managing the section, which witnesses a huge rush of patients,” a doctor posted in the hospital said.

He said that in the absence of sonologists, even pregnant ladies prefer to go for USG outside.

The health official said that the anaesthesia section has two sanctioned consultants, while two others are working on an attachment basis.

“The only sanctioned post for psychiatry is yet to be filled,” he said.

The health official said that there was also a dearth of dental surgeons in the hospital.

The Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr. Gulzar Ahmad, acknowledged the dearth of sanctioned posts for doctors in the hospital.

“The sanctioned staff of the hospital is still that of a sub-district hospital. However, we have taken up the issue with the higher authorities and expect a positive response,” he said. “The lack of manpower in the Surgery department, including the paramedic technical staff, is the reason for surgeries not being conducted from evening to morning. However, we conduct caesareans in the hospital in the evening and night hours.”



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