Enhancing retirement age of doctors is the need of the hour - watsupptoday.com
Enhancing retirement age of doctors is the need of the hour
Posted 19 May 2020 02:50 PM


By: Sameer Bhasin

Ad-hoc-ism or Stop-Gap arrangement, whatever you may call it; is the state of affairs at the Government Medical College and Associated Hospitals in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, even as the pandemic continues to take its toll and hospitals see an increased rush of patients suffering from Covid-19 or other routine diseases.

Following the change of status of J&K from the State to Union Territory in August last, and Public Service Commission becoming nonexistent, appointments of doctors has come to a halt. And, doctors including the medical teachers continue to retire from jobs on attaining 62-years of age despite J&K now falling under central service rules and hence expect for the retirement age to be considered as 65 as is the case with other UTs across the country.

Even as the crisis persists because of the ongoing pandemic, those at the helm of affairs have not considered issuing a directive to raise the retirement age to 65 in a bid to retain the retiring doctors to continue serving. Though extending the tenure of service in few cases too can be adopted as a measure but the same will not serve the purpose as the one who is on extension cannot be expected to perform his duties wholeheartedly and just pass the time counting days with a laid back attitude.

The ground situation, as reported in a section of the press, is that 'there is about 30 percent shortage of teaching faculty in Govt Medical College, Jammu while Govt Medical Colleges of Kathua and Rajouri are running with a severe shortage of staff. The reports also suggest that in order to overcome the shortage of medical faculty, J&K government has adopted the policy of giving extensions after retirement, which is totally against the rules. At present Principal, Govt Medical College, Rajouri was given extension in the beginning of this month and Principal, Govt Medical College, Doda is working on extension since September 2019. His extension is also expiring in September 2020.'

"Principal, Govt Medical College, Kathua is going to retire next month and the government will again adopt the same method for his continuation by granting an extension. Principal, Govt Medical College, Jammu is also having 10 months left. In addition, Govt Medical College, Udhampur is planned to be started this year."

"Apart from this, HOD, Ophthalmology, HOD, Medicine & HOD, Gynae and Obs are also retiring shortly. By not enhancing the retirement age, the government will be depriving the oldest medical institute of Jammu from the services of the senior faculty members. HOD, Nephrology has already retired for which no replacement could be found."

There is also an element of discontent among the doctors, particularly the senior ones as the rue non-enhancement of the retirement age. Though central rules have been extended to J&K yet the retirement age of the doctors has not been enhanced. This is in contrast to the retirement age of the medical teachers in other UTs is 65 but it continues to be 62 for academia in J&K.

Even most of the private medical colleges employ doctors to serve up to 70 years of age. The J&K government is also recruiting medical teachers after their retirement up to the age of 65 years. But the problem arises because most of the retired academic medical teachers do not want to take up the job for a few years and even if they take up the job, it does not go to the benefit either of the government or the patient. The retired medical teachers prefer to take up the job in the private sector because they have more years for service there. News reports appearing in media also suggest that various departments like General Medicine and Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Blood Bank and Forensic Medicine in GMC Jammu and Chest Diseases and Blood Bank Department in GMC Srinagar are facing deficiency of faculty at entry level but as the Public Service Commission continues to remain non-functional, the entry-level posts in two GMCs could not be filled up while they already stand referred to the erstwhile Commission.

The news reports further say that posts of Assistant Professors for various subjects were advertised by PSC in 2017 and after more than two and a half years, the interviews were finally conducted by the Commission in the month of the first week of November 2019 for the subjects of Clinical Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology, Medicine and some of the departments of super-specialty but they could not be wound up. Facing all the odds in the light of the situation arising thereof, the government is left with no choice but to run the affairs with stop gap arrangements which instead of solving the problem is more likely to worsen the situation.

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