KL NEWS NETWORK
Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) has ridiculed the proposal of three tier roaster/double shifts in health institutions saying that it will be premature and improper to implement it because of massive staff dearth and poor logistics that the health department is witnessing.
“At present the doctor-patient ratio in the Kashmir valley is 1:1000 far below the World Health Organization (WHO) standard, which requires the doctor-patient ratio to be 1:500,” said DAK spokesperson. “It simply signifies that the strength of Doctors should be double of what is presently prevailing and the same lies true for paramedical and allied staff.”
According to official estimates more than 2000 vacancies of doctors exist in the health department, the spokesperson said.
“The current sanctioned strength of state is based on healthcare estimates dating back to 1990s, since then the population has witnessed a steep increase without any substantial upgradation in health human resources,” the spokesperson said. “The shortage of manpower in hospitals has already compelled every medical personnel to perform extra duties which have over burdened them beyond their capacity.”
Furthermore the hospitals are not well connected because of dilapidated roads and absence of proper transport facilities at various health institutes that makes it virtually impossible for employees to reach or leave hospitals at odd hours particularly for female health personnel, the spokesperson said.
“It is dismal to imagine a female employee leaving from hospital during night hours in the middle of nowhere to get back to her home,” the spokesperson said. “It is pertinent to mention that the holy month of ramzan is approaching and any such wrong move will create unnecessary agony and a reason for chaos in health sector.”
The Govt should take prevailing circumstances of the valley into consideration also, the DAK spokesperson said: “Any intervention in implementing such an ambiguous roaster will be catastrophic and will dent the health care services which the medical professionals are trying to balance against all the herculean challenges. The Govt should first rectify the grave problems pertained to scarcity of staff and improper logistics at the hospital before coming up with any such roaster.”
On directions of Minister for Heath and Medical Education, the administration of hospitals across the valley has been asking employees to give duties in 8 hourly shifts on the pattern of SKIMS.
“But unfortunately the authorities forget to mention that SKIMS has its own transport facility which their employees avail with ease,” the spokesperson said. “Moreover the said hospital has sound residential facilities for their employees. The Govt must know that almost all of the peripheral hospitals lack reasonable accommodation for its staff.”
“It is unfortunate that doctors are made to work like donkeys by justifying to work as per a roaster which not only defies labour laws but even violates individual’s human rights. We are being categorized as Govt employees with distinction whereby we are being asked to work much extra on salaries compared with employees who work for 36 hours a week and enjoy winter and summer vacations along with all gazetted holidays,” he said.
“The doctors working in hospitals are being asked to work for more than 72 hours a week including Sundays and all gazetted holidays. This discrimination without any compensation is in violation to all national and international laws which govern human dignity and honour. We cannot be subjected to unjustified work for mere vote bank appeasement. Doctors across valley stand united on this issue and will oppose this move with one voice.”
DAK also stresses the Govt to enhance the pay band of doctors to a stature that command duties as desired by Govt till then we will not allow doctors to be used like subjugated labourers.
“We hope good sense will prevail and employees are not subjected to unnecessary discomfort and anxiety,” the spokesperson said. “There is a lack of indigenous and comprehensive health policy in the state that is responsible for healthcare mess for which doctors have to face the brunt. The State Govt and Health Ministry in particular should take heath sector as priority in deeds and not work on a cosmetic approach so to project a pseudo effect that is suicidal and patient unfriendly.”