by Umar Mukhtar

SRINAGAR: Amid the Covid19 pandemic when the already understaffed health sector is struggling to manage the crisis, SKIMS has issued a notification for examination of the third year PG students. This is expected to disturb the smooth functioning of Kashmir’s major tertiary care hospital. The examinations are supposed to start on June 1.

A Kashmiri doctor in protective gear takes a nasal swab sample of a village woman to test for COVID-19 in Budgam on May 18, 2021. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

For the last year, the PG students are posted in different wards to manage the Coronavirus morbidity. The doctors there raised the concern that if the examinations would be held during the pandemic, the doctor-patient ratio would definitely be badly affected, thus risking the lives of the vulnerable patients.

“After their examination, about 1/3 of the skilled PG doctors will be relieved from SKIMS leaving a vacuum here,” said a senior resident doctor. Moreover, they now have the experience of handling the crisis since last year, he added.

Pertinent to mention that the new batch of PG students will not join the campus till August as the National NEET-PG examination was postponed till August all over the country.

Dr A G Ahangar, talking to Kashmir Life on July 11, 2020. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

A third-year student who wished not to be named said: “Our exams are commencing next week, we need to prepare for the exams and also the administration has posted us for Covid duties. We can either get ourselves prepared for exams or we can be on duty and manage patients. We cannot do both at the same time.”

Kashmiri hospitals in general and SKIMS, in particular, are overburdened with patients and the doctor-patient ratio is so way off already. “Many students are from the Jammu province, once they will sit in exams, they will not stay here any longer, that will definitely create a deficit, “ one doctor said.

The doctors and students said that the administration should reconsider the decision in the interest of the people and should postpone the exams till there would be a fall in the number of cases.

“Let us assume even if the administration calls for general JR recruitment after the examination, that won’t be sufficient because the new ones won’t be as skilled as PG students in dealing with the current crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, ” said another doctor.

Dr Omar Javaid Shah, Dean Medical Faculty SKIMS while responding to the issues raised by the students and doctors said, “If they feel the decision is not in the interest of patients and students, let them make a formal representation. The board will look into that and will do the needful.”


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