Govt dismissing 192 missing doctors soon
The government has failed to terminate hundreds of doctors absent from duties for years including a doctor missing for the past 28 years but Minister for Health Monday said he would soon dismiss 192 such doctors.
A Right to Information (RTI) query of the Health Analytics India revealed some startling dimensions of chronic absenteeism in Kashmir.
The data obtained from Kashmir in response to the RTI query revealed that a government doctor had remained absent for the past 28 years yet he had not been terminated.
Interestingly, the doctor has escaped termination since 2007 when the previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-Congress coalition government tried to crack a whip on the absent doctors.
The Health Analytics India RTI revealed that some 359 doctors had been terminated since 2007 from being absent.
The RTI revealed that 22 doctors had left for higher studies without permission of the authorities.
It also revealed that south Kashmir’s Kulgam district is the only district in Kashmir where no doctor is found absent without authorization.
The RTI revealed that 203 posts of doctors were still vacant in Kashmir valley.
However, despite these terminations, hundreds of other doctors continue to remain absent from their duties and serve in private hospitals in the Gulf, Europe and the United States and United Kingdom yet they keep holding on to their posts in Kashmir.
The Health Analytics India RTI reveals that among these 59 doctors continue to remain on unauthorized absence.
This is leading to a shortage of doctors which is becoming a major cause of ineffective healthcare in Kashmir particularly in the district hospitals and rural Kashmir.
The sources said the government does not have any clue about hundreds of these absent doctors.
Talking to us, Minister for Health and Medical Education, Chaudhary Lal Singh said he was not aware of any doctor who had remained absent from duties for the past 28 years and continued to hold onto his job in Kashmir.
Singh said when he was the health minister in the PDP-Congress coalition government, he had dismissed some 231 doctors for absenteeism.
He also promised to dismiss 192 more doctors for their unauthorized absence from duties.
“The government has already prepared a case against them and they will all be dismissed soon,” the health minister said. “We have served the last notice to them, which the government needed to serve as per the law.”
Singh said any doctor who would remain absent from duties without an authorized leave for a month would be terminated.
“The government is with the people who are suffering in the absence of doctors from hospitals and other health institutions, not with these doctors who remain absent from duties,” he said.
Official sources said of the nearly 1521 doctors sanctioned for hospitals in Kashmir run by Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir (DHSK), 811 were absent for several years and only 710 were dispatching their duties.
These absent doctors are also blocking the promotions of the doctors serving for the government as their posts remain unfilled without their termination.
The sources said that for addressing the shortage of doctors in rural Kashmir, Health ministry is also thinking of regularizing the doctors attached to the Army for “Operation Sadbhavana” and other purposes.
The sources said some of such doctors on their return to Kashmir after years of absenteeism also claimed their salaries and moved to courts for getting service benefits.