Job bonanza in SKIMS

Despite objections by the SKIMS faculty forum, authorities at the premier tertiary healthcare institute have continued with the arbitrary policy of extensions or re-employment to retiring doctors on superannuation.
Sources in the institute say at least, seven retiring doctors have been issued re-employment orders. These include Dr Mohammad  Afzal Wani, Dr Masood-ul-Hassan; Dr Nisara Bhat, Dr G Q peer,  Dr Rekha Patnaik, Dr W H Andrabi,  Dr Imtiyaz Ali.
Moreover, authorities are also contemplating extension in service to some of the administrative and clerical staff. Three names are already under consideration.
Sources in the hospital say that the service extension which should be reserved for rare cases, on the basis of exceptional brilliance, is being granted on whims.  Even people showing less than satisfactory performance have been bestowed with re-employment.
“Extension is a safeguard in rarest of the rare cases,” said a senior faculty at the institute, wishing anonymity. “It is given for exceptional brilliance in academics or profession. But here, there is nothing of that sort.”
The faculty complains that extensions are not given on the basis of institute’s requirements.
“The maternity section needs extensions, but no extension has been given there,” a source explained. 
In March the faculty forum passed a resolution calling for a stop to such extensions.
“It was unanimously agreed upon to impress upon the government of J&K, Governing body of SKIMS, and SKIMS administration not to recommend or grant re-employment/extension to faculty on superannuation, except in rarest of rare cases. Subsequent to any such extension, the most senior serving faculty member should be made the administrative head of the department,” the faculty forum resolution read.
Interestingly, the faculty forum demanded enhancement of superannuation age to 65 – as is in vogue in AIIMS – from the existing 60. The faculty says that raising the superannuation age will resolve the problem of manpower deficit, and the need for re-employment.
The employees say selective extensions are being granted in SKIMS for last few years.
“Mostly it is done secretly and we come to know only when the orders have been passed,” said a faculty.
“Junior doctors are feeling the pinch, and are not allowed to raise their voice,” said a senior faculty member.
Despite the availability of qualified persons having proved professional excellence, the institute is resorting to unwarranted extensions and re-employment.
“There is no scarcity of multidisciplinary expertise in young doctors and to induct fresh talents rather than to rehire antiquated hands must be the focus. But, they are not being provided with the opportunities to fill the space leaving them disheartened,” said an insider.
Among the latest extensions, the case  of a paediatric surgeon has baffled many. Professor Rekha Patnaik had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disease in 1996. She has been on a sick leave, for over an year, and a SKIMS committee following complaints of her working had asked the administration to hand over the reins of paediatrics department to someone else.
Documents with Kashmir Life disclose that there have been substantiated complaints against Dr Rekha Patnaik that she would change the post-operative treatment protocols of patients operated by other consultants “without any scientific reason”.
An administrative committee of SKIMS, which had been formed to inquire into her tiffs with staff and other complaints, has apprehended that her psychiatric disease may have recurred.
“Fighting with the staff (faculty, residents, nurses and patients) indicates that her psychiatric disease has possibly recurred. Furthermore she is a non-operating surgeon in the department which only adds confusion to the management of patients.” The committee has concluded and recommended that she be taken for a psychiatric consultation.
Dr Patnaik did not appear before the committee. 
The adverse reports against Dr Patnaik, however, has not come in the way of her re-employment.
Reemployment of clerical and administrative staff is also annoying the staff .
A senior doctor at the institute told Kashmir Life that these extensions, not only violated laws and norms, but also create administrative problems. 
The re-employed faculty exercises full rights in all the administrative activities. “That is really disheartening,” the doctor adds.
“Instead of helping the hospital administration these re-employed lot create unnecessary problems for the other regular staff by indulging in the administrative matters,” said the doctor.
Another senior faculty said that a monitoring body should trace people responsible for misuse of service and penalise them. “Also, there should be a clause stipulating that on any such extension the most senior incumbent serving faculty member should be made the administrative head of the department,” said a source.

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