By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 24 Jul: According to information made available through RTI enuiry from Dehradun based SDC Foundation, Uttarakhand has only 43 percent specialist doctors serving in government hospitals and health centres across the state, while the remaining posts have been lying vacant for long. As per the data made available by the state health department in response to the RTI query, 654 out of the total number of 1147 sanctioned posts of specialists in 15 specialities are lying vacant in the state at present.
The RTI response revealed that Tehri district remained the worst affected district with just 13 percent availability of the specialist doctors while Chamoli district had 27 percent available and Pauri district 28 percent specialists serving at present out of the total number of sanctioned posts. SDC Founder Anoop Nautiyal has shared this information. He informed that the Foundation was analysing the information and preparing a detailed report in this connection. According to him, more than half of the sanctioned posts of specialist doctors were vacant but the situation was far worse in the hills. He also reminded that that there were 25 sanctioned posts of forensic experts in Uttarakhand, but only one forensic expert was serving in the state. Out of the total number of 32 posts of dermatologists only 4 were serving, while out of the total number of 28 posts of psychiatrists, only 4 were serving. This should also be a matter of concern particularly in view of the looming third wave of Corona pandemic. Only 41 percent of the sanctioned posts of paediatricians are serving in the state, another major cause of concern. Nautiyal claimed that this had a risk of being underprepared for a possible third wave of Corona pandemic. Not only this, only 36 percent of posts of gynaecologists were filled up at present. Nautiyal further claimed that the findings had a large implication in rural and hill areas, which had remained largely ignored in Uttarakhand in respect of public health systems.
It may be recalled that a few days ago, several MLAs met the newly elected Health Minister Dhan Singh Rawat and raised the issue of inadequate deployment of specialist doctors in the state. As per a report prepared by NITI Aayog in 2018, Uttarakhand had ranked amongst three worst performing large states due to high vacancy in the posts of specialist doctors at district hospitals.
The Foundation has prepared a detailed analysis of districts and specialist doctors in the state and planned to share it soon. According to the report, Tehri was the worst affected districts where only 13 percent of the posts of specialist doctors were filled up. Out of total 98 approved posts, only 13 are filled and 85 are vacant. There is not a single surgeon, ENT surgeon, forensic expert, dermatologist, microbiologist or psychiatrist in any government hospital in the district. There was only one paediatrician against the total number of 14 sanctioned for the district and only one public health specialist against the 12 posts. Situation in respect of some other specialities was better, it was found. There was no vacancy of orthopaedic surgeons or eye surgeons or pathologists in the district.