Govt Proposes Empowering Admn Officers To Run GMC Hospitals, Faculty Says It Will Ruin Institutions

SRINAGAR:  Jammu and Kashmir administration is planning to hand over the administration of premier hospitals associated with the Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) to lower and middle rung officials, as per the latest draft proposal.

Divisional Commissioner P K Police visiting the hospitals in Srinagar on January 8, 2022. Also seen in the picture is Principal GMC, Srinagar and her team.

The move would effectively put middle or lower rung officials in charge of the hospitals, which the insiders say is in contravention of the National Medical Commission’s guidelines. The meeting on the subject was scheduled on January 21 between the GMC principles and other officers but it was not immediately known what happened in the meeting. No order, however, has been issued so far even though the draft order was also annexed to the meeting notice.

The Health and Medical Education Department of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has proposed that the administrative files and flow of information would be routed through a hierarchical channel/pyramid. As per the plan – to be discussed by the stakeholders, the hierarchical channel/pyramid would be Administrative Officers to Personal Officers to Administrators.

The plans have been strongly reacted to by the faculty. The Medical Faculty Association of Government Medical and Dental College, Srinagar held an emergency meeting of its Executive Body to discuss the draft proposal of the Government regarding “diversion of administrative powers of Principal Government Medical College Srinagar/Jammu to the administrators of associated hospitals.”

One insider said GMC principles of Jammu and Srinagar expressed reservations over the plan but indications suggest the government may go ahead with the idea.

https://twitter.com/DrSalimKhan/status/1485112615018070017/photo/1

The association in a press release said that it strongly feels that the draft proposal amounts to degrading the chair of Principals/Deans of Government Medical Colleges Srinagar/Jammu. “It is a clear infringement on the rights and jurisdiction of the executive heads of the medical institutions ensured by the National Medical Commission and University Grants Commission,” the statement said.

The statement further said that the proposal is against patient care as the nuances of healthcare and medical education can better be understood by an administrative head from a medical background. Besides, it added that it is also against the affairs of undergraduate/postgraduate/Postdoctoral students where the Principal is the signatory between the National Medical Commission and the University of affiliation and that it could “adversely impact the recognition of courses at all levels.”

It further said that the proposal is demoralizing to faculty members who are “busy fighting unrelenting variants of Covid19.” It urged the government not to go ahead with the draft proposal so as “to ensure and respect the rights of the executive heads of the medical institutions.”

Dr Syed Sajjad Nazir, President of the MFA said that the move would render the principal powerless. “The powers would be kept with administrative officers, personal officers etc.” He said they would not be impacted as much as the patients. “It would badly impact the patient care. When a non-technical person is in charge, what would he know about how patients are to be handled? They are totally unaware of the sensitivities.”

He said that administration is a 24 x 7 job. “A non-technical person would work 10-4, not 24 X 7.” He also said, there are so many fights and arguments that happen in casualty and wards. At that time, it is the faculty that steps in to help resolve the situation. They command a certain degree of respect.” He said, a non-technical person would never be able to handle that, which would ultimately hit the patient care.

“In Jammu and Kashmir, it is the government sector which is giving the best treatment to patients. You can see the condition of government hospitals in Delhi and Mumbai,” he said.

“For example, MD, MS courses, whatever communiqué comes from NCM, Principal is the head of the institution. Now, when the faculty will come under the administrator, it would lead to de-recognition of everything because they would not take an administrator as the head of an institution,” he said, adding that the draft proposal has fallacies.

He said that it would ultimately lead to faculty and young doctors resigning and look for greener pastures elsewhere. Most of the teachers could give premature retirement and young faculty would also move out. And we are already reeling under a crunch; it’ll be devastating for the entire health sector. They are institutions of excellence and they’d be turned into government hospitals like the ones being run in Delhi and Mumbai.”

“The faculty is very demoralized,” he said.

He termed the current circumstances as very challenging. “You can see the circumstances we operate in. We have so many faculty members who came positive for Covid19. But we are still running the hospital, against all odds. Would an administrative officer, a bureaucrat do that?” he asked.

He said that somebody coming from a bureaucratic stint in the Revenue Department would not know how to run a hospital or behave with a student. “We take a lot of sensitivities into consideration while working. A KAS officer would not.”

He said that if the government goes ahead with it, it’ll lead the institution and the healthcare sector and overall patient care to its ruin.

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