SRINAGAR: In a recent virtual session, the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh addressed the issue of staffing disparities in the healthcare sector. The court took note of the Status Report filed by the Deputy Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department, dated May 29, 2023, which revealed significant discrepancies in the staffing levels between Jammu Division and Kashmir Division.

According to the report, Jammu Division has a total sanctioned strength of 1390 Medical Officer posts, out of which only 726 are filled, leaving 664 posts vacant. Additionally, out of the sanctioned strength of 6868 non-gazetted and Class IV Employees in Jammu Division, only 4379 positions are occupied, while 2489 remain vacant.

In contrast, Kashmir Division has a more balanced staffing situation. Out of the total sanctioned strength of 1467 Medical Officer Posts, 1395 are filled, and 72 are vacant. Similarly, in the case of non-gazetted and Class IV Employees, out of the sanctioned strength of 8628 posts, 5976 positions are occupied, and 2651 are vacant.

Concerned about this disparity, the High Court directed the authorities to take necessary actions to fill up the numerous vacancies in both Medical Officer positions and non-gazetted and Class IV Employee roles in both Jammu Division and Kashmir Division.

The court also requested an affidavit to be submitted detailing the steps taken to address the issue, including in far-flung areas like Reasi, Poonch, Ramban, Kupwara, Baramulla, etc., where the vacancies appear to be significant.

Furthermore, the Deputy Solicitor General of India, Vishal Sharma, was directed to provide information about the healthcare situation in the Union Territory of Ladakh on the next hearing, scheduled for August 28th, 2023.

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