Stopgap Arrangement Leaves SKIMS Vulnerable To MCI De-recognition


Srinagar: While subsequent to the recent superannuation of Dr Showkat Ali Zargar as Director, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, here, the government assigned the charge to Secretary Health & Medical Education Department, Dr MK Bhandari, the development has only left SKIMS vulnerable to de-recognition from the prestigious Medical Council of India(MCI), experts cautioned.
As per the MCI guidelines, a non-medico cannot be the head of such hospitals. “The Principal / Dean / Director of Medical Institution should possess the recognized postgraduate medical qualification and other academic qualification from a recognized institution with a minimum of ten years’ teaching experience as Professor/Associate Professor/Reader in a medical college/Instt. Out of which at least five years should be as Professor in a department,” experts quoting the MCI norms said.
Bhandari, a non-medico, lacks the requisite qualification, as prescribed by the MCI. The government has been downplaying the matter saying “it’s an interim arrangement” till the selection for the new Director of this super-specialty hospital is made. But the experts mock at the government viewpoint.
“If the post of Inspector General of Police falls vacant for any reasons, will the government assign the charge to an IAS official who has been into civil services? If this can never happen for the technical job of policing, how can it be allowed for a chair which handles lives of people at a super-speciality hospital? This is nothing but sheer negligence,” said a senior medico and member of the SKIMS Governing Body, asking not to be named.
The medicos at SKIMS have already resented to Bhandri being given charge of Director SKIMS. On June 5, in a major embarrassment for the state government, the SKIMS Faculty Forum stayed away from the meeting with him.
Bhandari, who visited SKIMS to take stock of the hospital had called a meeting with the medicos. But the SKIMS Faculty Forum stayed away pleading that “under norms a non-medico cannot be Director SKIMS.”
The SKIMS medicos said it was for the first time in the history of SKIMS that the government has taken this prestigious institution so non-seriously. “Instead of a Babu, the government should have assigned the charge to some HoD from within SKIMS,” the SKIMS Faculty Forum opines.
Eyebrows are already being raised over the selection process for the appointment of the new Director SKIMS as there has been no scrutiny of the service record of the applicants, some of who have cases of corruption and private practice registered against them. Some of the applicants are even accused of being “morally corrupt” in past though they are being hyped as “most eligible for the job by a section of media”.
Ignoring the tainted service record, the government has called all the 24 applicants for interview on June 11 and 12.
While the general public and the civil society wants the government to appoint new Director on merit and unblemished service record with research which had benefitted the homeland, to his credit, apprehensions are rife that some influential medicos are in the “good books of the government.”
Apart from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who is also the Chairperson of the SKIMS Governing Body, her Advisor Amitabh  Mattoo will be among the influential faces, likely to decide fate of this hospital, already marred by years of corruption and mismanagement.

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