What next? Govt’s tough action leaves SKIMS doctors guessing

What next? Govt’s tough action leaves SKIMS doctors guessing
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Afaq Bhat

Srinagar, Jan 7: The Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), the premier tertiary care hospital in Kashmir, is again in the news for wrong reasons.
A sting operation carried out by a TV channel exposed three top heads of the departments of the institute indulging in private practice. Following the sting operation, the Jammu and Kashmir government removed the Director SKIMS and attached the three doctors, who were exposed by the news channel.
Sources said that it’s not these three doctors only who indulge in private practice. Most of the SKIMS doctors do see patients at their residences despite getting hefty Non Practicing Allowance. “The Director was very well aware about their activities but he did not act against them. This led to his removal from the top most,” sources added.
They said the Director SKIMS was under scanner for a longtime. “He had been asked by the higher ups to mend his ways and take stern action against the doctors who are carrying on with the private practice but he did not take any action,” they added.
A source said that stern action taken by the J&K government has created ripples at SKIMS and speculations are rife that action would be taken against a few others also to send a “strong message” that private practice won’t be tolerated.
People associated with SKIMS have welcomed the decision of the government and are hoping that a “competent person” would be handed over the reins of the institute so that people don’t lose faith. “It’s unfortunate that SKIMS Director did not take a serious note of Swine Flu deaths and did not activate the men and machinery to ascertain the cause of increasing casualties. The matter was taken lightly. This also annoyed the people at the top. The Director did not take any note of news reports about the Swine Flu deaths and treated it as a routine matter,” said an insider.
He said, “It’s not the sting operation only which has led to the ouster of the SKIMS Director. There were many issues which the Director had not addressed. After assuming charge he went into oblivion hoping that SKIMS would function at its own but it didn’t happen.”
A politician of ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said, “The decision taken by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is a clear indication that people taking their jobs lightly won’t be tolerated. The policy of our government is clear perform or perish.”
Meanwhile, the President of Doctors Association Kashmir Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan welcomed the government’s decision. “There is no choice of private practice in SKIMS as it is a non-practicing institute from the very inception,” he said.

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