Srinagar, 12 November: The Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), which is Kashmir’s primary tertiary hospital, is now struggling with a huge lack of personnel. As a result, 1021 out of 1756 jobs, including 115 important faculty doctor positions, are currently unfilled. This is a reason for grave worry.
The finding is throwing doubt on the institution’s capacity to handle its workload and provide necessary medical services.
In response to an inquiry made by this correspondent under the Right to Information Act (RTI), the management of SKIMS disclosed that out of the total sanctioned faculty posts, which include assistant professors, associate professors, and additional professors, an astounding 115 positions remain unfilled, which accounts for more than 40 percent of these critical roles.
The entire sanctioned strength for professors is 290, yet there are now only 175 people filling those jobs.
The response to the request for information (RTI) revealed that, out of a total of 1756 sanctioned postings, there are now 1021 open positions. This indicates that more than 55 percent of positions are currently unoccupied.
In addition to the job of professor and principal of nursing, there are openings for resident medical officer postings, which total six positions.
In addition, senior administrative officer responsibilities are impacted, with 50 out of 127 technologist postings and 175 out of 258 technician posts remaining unfilled, respectively.
The administration of SKIMS stated that certain positions are filled via promotions, while other positions are filled directly through recruitment.
Direct recruiting is often the method that is used to fill critical posts like those of physicians and academic members.
An experienced physician at SKIMS emphasized the direct effect that the staffing problem is having on the healthcare facilities that the institution is able to deliver.
The burden in essential areas is doubled as a result of the scarcity of physicians, which has a negative impact on the healthcare system as a whole.
In response to the difficulties associated with recruiting, the government issued an order in July requiring SKIMS to send all recruitments, including those for faculty posts, to the recruitment bodies that are responsible for the Jammu and Kashmir union territory: the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) and the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board (JKSSB).
The department of general administration highlighted that all vacant faculty positions and those that were subject to direct quotas should be filled via JKPSC.
This direction comes on the heels of prior instructions given by the government on January 15, 2021. Those instructions advised SKIMS to fill all class IV and non-gazetted vacancies via the JKSSB.
The decision was issued after the hospital, which had previously operated independently but now reports to the Health and Medical Education Department, lost its autonomy in February.
SKIMS’s management was given the directive to submit all items for clearance via the Health and Medical Education Department, which would further complicate the issues that have been occurring there.
The current predicament raises concerns over the viability of healthcare services in the area as well as the influence that choices made by bureaucrats will have on essential medical facilities.