JK to axe 200 ‘missing’ doctors

Minister says new recruits to replace them soon

The J&K Government is mulling termination of about 200 doctors who are on its payrolls but are working in other countries or outside the state ‘illegally’, Greater Kashmir has learnt. New medicos will be appointed at these posts in near future. 
Official data maintains that Kashmir hospitals are running short of nearly 700 doctors, with at least 250 doctors absent from their duties “illegally” for the past several years. 
Minister for Health and Medical Education, TajMohiuddin, told Greater Kashmir that around 47 out of 250 have reported back to their duties. “Rest of these doctors are working in other countries. They have joined their duties after the selection but are missing now,” he said.
Taj said the Government is mulling their termination.  “I do not think there is any alternative to (their) termination. We will not allow people to suffer and unemployed doctors will have to be accommodated,” he said, adding, “These posts will be filled in near future.”
Taj informed that doctors from ‘waiting lists’—who could not get a chance for a regular job—would be accommodated in place of the ‘missing’ medicos.
He said to address the shortage of doctors in rural areas, the Ministry is also “actively thinking” to “regularize the doctors attached to Army for ‘Sadbhavana’ purposes.”
“They have been appointed on contractual basis several years ago and we are actively thinking of their regularization in near future,” the Minister said, adding their regularization will benefit the people living in rural areas. However, he did not disclose the number of such doctors.
A senior Health department official said those who have returned after years of service outside have also claimed their salaries. “They have moved to courts to get the service benefits,” he said.  
The official, giving example of shortage of doctors said, said there are 72 Assistant Surgeons, 55 specialists and 62 paramedical posts vacant in hospitals of south Kashmir’s Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag (Islamabad) districts. “More or less, same is the case with Central and North Kashmir hospitals,” the official said. 
He said around 1471 doctors are sanctioned for the Kashmir hospitals run by the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) but only 902 of them are available for duty while rest are absent.
He said over 200 doctors are absent from duty from the DHSK-run hospitals for many years. “They are either working illegally outside the state or outside the country,” he said.

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