Govt must abandon this practice, it takes toll on patients: Experts
Can’t comment, I haven’t examined the issue: Advisor Bhatnagar
Srinagar, Dec 29: Amid the threat of new variant omicron, the authorities at the government medical college Srinagar are mulling to go for winter vacations from Ist January 2022.
A circular issued in this regard by GMC Principal reads that All the Heads of Departments of various Disciplines of Govt. Medical College Srinagar are requested to furnish the Winter Vacations Roster for the year 2022 of Faculty Members for (28) days and submit the same to this office within a period of (02) days positively from the date of issue of this circular, so that the Roster for Winter Vacation-2022 is completed and issued well in time.
As per the circular the first Half Vacations w.e.f 01-01-2022 to 28-01-2022 and second half vacations w.e.f 01-02-2022 to 28-02-2022 besides that (29, 30 and 31 January, 2022 will be the common working days for all the Faculty members and no kind leave whatsoever for these days will be entertained).
Some of the important instructions/guidelines as per circular include that as far as possible equal number of faculty staff in each department will remain present during both the halves of the vacations, so that the work will be carried on smoothly.
“Faculty members on duty during any of the halves of winter vacations shall not be entitled to attend conference/workshops/seminars etc. unless otherwise the same is unavoidable and the alternative arrangements thereof are ensured by the concerned HOD, no faculty members shall be allowed to avail of the vacations in excess in any case,” it said.
“All the faculty members availing of any of the halves of Vacations shall join thereafter and no kind of leave whatsoever shall be allowed. All the faculty members availing of any of the halves of vacations will record and communicate to the college in their departure reports their mailing address/telephone numbers and next senior faculty member available in the department will provide cover during the absence/vacations of HOD, as the case may be and the senior faculty member will act as incharge HoD,” the circular reads.
“All the Heads of the departments will ensure that teaching programme as well as patient care will not suffer during the period of winter vacations-2022, No partial modification to the winter vacation-2022 roster shall be accepted and accordingly all the HODs are advised not to recommend any partial modification/change in their departmental winter vacation 2022 roster after issuance of winter vacation-2022 by this office,” it said.
“No lecturer is entitled to avail winter vacation-2022 whether on regular basis or on Academic Arrangement Basis who has been appointed/engaged after summer vacation-2021, In the event of further surge/spike in the COVID-19, the vacations shall cancelled and all the faculty members have to resume their duties immediately and the faculty members, on winter vacation-2022, are advised to remain available at their residence addresses,” it said.
Meanwhile officials at the GMC Srinagar maintain that in order we have ensured that the patient care, as well as the academic activities, don’t not suffer.
“GMC has decided to announce winter vacations to its faculty members in two separate halves,” officials said.
However, talking with news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) experts and senior doctors believe that this move of the authorities is taking a heavy toll on the patients and this elite practice must be stopped.
“It is ironic that senior doctors and consultants in Kashmir are allowed for holidaying en masse at a time when their services are needed the most due to which planned surgeries are cancelled and treatments are delayed,” they said.
“If senior doctors will be allowed to go for vacation, the entire health sector will rely on juniors, most are students and putting them under pressure can prove costly,” experts said.
“On one hand the government is extending the retirement age of doctors and other paramedical staff by one year but on the other hand allowing senior staff to go for summer holidays seems a contradictory step,” they said.
They requested higher ups of the government to look into the matter at the earliest so that patients won’t suffer.
Advisor to LG RR Bhatnagar said that it is a traditional practice and if there is any requirement it will be managed.
On asking whether this practice can be abandoned, Bhatnagar said, “that I can’t comment as I haven’t examined the issue in that sense.”