(Ms. Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil, 26, was born in Srinagar, Kashmir. She did her schooling from King George (Mumbai) and later Cambridge (New Delhi), and received her Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Kashmir in 2008. Presently, she is also pursuing her second Masters degree in Mass Communications through the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). In 1998, she began her career as a freelance journalist with leading national newspapers and simultaneously joined ‘Fazil Kashmiri Publications’ as Editor and Publisher, and is also an editor of the ‘Focus’. Ms. Fazil has written a book on Mass Media and Linguistics (2006), and ‘Falcons of Paradise'(2009), a reference book contains 100 Eminent Personalities of J&K starting from 14th century till date. After working for ‘Daily Etaalat’- a Srinagar based Newspaper in 2007-2008; she joined ‘Daily Kashmir Images’ as a Senior Correspondent by the end of 2008. She is also currently associated with ‘Charkha’, a foundation that highlights the developmental concerns of marginalized section of Kashmiri society particularly in rural areas and to draw out perspectives on women through their writings. Ms. Fazil is also associated with ‘Interchurch Peace Council Netherlands’ which is intensely involved in several conflict areas such as in Kashmir. In 2009, she joined the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA). She has received numerous awards for her meritorious contribution in the field of literature. Her interests are reading, writing, poetry, music, travel,and gender related topics.)
Show Them Door
Better late than never! Finally the government seems to have woken up to the problems posed to the premier tertiary-care hospital SKIMS by the private practice of its doctors. Now that a disciplinary committee has been set up under the state Chief Secretary to check the private practice by SKIMS’ doctors, it is expected to act as a necessary deterrent. Since the doctors of this hospital draw huge sums month after month as non-practicing allowance from the state exchequer, ethically speaking, they should not have indulged into anything amounting to the breach of their work ethics and service rules. But then, in this land of unaccountability where people pride their ability to hoodwink the other, including the law of the land, ethics are certainly too sparse to figure in societal conscience and consideration. No wonder doctors too being part of this largely corrupt society are any different. On one hand they draw non-practicing allowances but on the other they also indulge in private practice, thereby cheating both their conscience as well as gullible public – government of course is no consideration at all!
SKIMS, as an institution, in fact one of the biggest in the entire state has a very fat and elaborate administrative set-up headed by a director. Besides director, there are so many other officials down this hospital’s, as well as up in the state’s administrative hierarchy who wield lot of institutional powers to keep the unruly and unscrupulous elements within SKIMS as well as elsewhere at bay. Unfortunately, it is the abject failure of these officials in the administrative ladder of SKIMS and the state in general that has brought the situation to the point where the government finally had to set up an extra committee to work as the ring-master to take the ‘wild’. The gravity of the institutional rot that has come to plague SKIMS could be gauged from the fact that despite clear warnings from the Chief Minister to the doctors to stop cheating the state and its people, private practice continued unabated. Such is the extent of the carelessness on part of doctors that the Chief Minister was forced to repeat his warning again this year on another annual day function of the hospital. And yet the situation refused to change.
As happens in such cases, Director SKIMS and others in the top positions may choose to feign ignorance about the doctors engaging in private practice, but how many people actually believe this possibility. Is it possible that Director and others are unaware of things that are common knowledge for the ordinary population? Certainly not! Mere setting up of disciplinary committee or any other such mechanism won’t help much unless and until government fixes responsibility of the wrongs that have cost SKIMS its place of pride among the health institutions in the subcontinent. How-so-much one may like to differ with his politics, it goes without saying that SKIMS is one of the best contributions of the National Conference founder Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah to the people of the Jammu and Kashmir. Isn’t it true that SKIMS was once one of the best health-care institutions in the entire subcontinent, at par with the institutions like AIIMS New Delhi and PGI Chandigarh? Then what went wrong and how? Slamming blame for everything on the political turmoil has become a boring cliché so much so that it no longer amuses anyone now. It is just an absurd excuse to shield the corrupt and the inefficient. Omar Abdullah’s government will be better served by initiating a culture of fixing responsibility for the wrongs and setting the heads of the wrong-doers rolling. Those who resort to excuses blaming militancy for their own inefficiencies are non-doers. These administrative white-ants must be bug-juiced to rid the system of their corrupt and immoral impacts.
Need is to catch the bull by the horn - Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil
In clear violation of the J&K government ordinance that bans private practice of the doctors and paramedical staff of the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura a large number of doctors and paramedics openly run their private clinics. And this private practice of doctors and paramedics severely upsets the healthcare in valley’s premier tertiary care hospital. Kashmir Images spoke to renowned doctors to know their take on the issue. Excerpts:
(Ex Director SKIMS)
Dr S. Jalal
(Ex Director SKIMS)
Dr Shahida Mir
I must tell you that the head of the state (CM) is well aware of this menace but lacks will to impose the ban strictly. This year thrice the issue of private practice has been discussed in the governing body meeting headed by CM but nothing concrete has come out so far and I firmly believe nothing will again come out of the recently committee constituted by government to look into the menace of private practice.
Dr Waseem Qureshi
(Director AIDS, Kashmir)
As far as disciplinary committee constituted recently to look into the matter of private practice is concerned, I am sure without doing favoritism it will scrutinize private practitioners who will be dealt according to law.
Dr Ashraf Ganie
Dr Altaf Rather
The other day, Chief Minister while addressing a function of SKIMS warned the doctors who indulge in private practice. He told them that he knew them and their clinics too and warned that they should desist from doing private practice. The next day Kashmir Images identified the doctors and clinics and then a committee was formed to look into the matter. Will the formation of committee help. No, Mr. CM – you know them and we know them too. Act, if you want to before it is too late and the dream of your grand father is tuned into a nightmare for ordinary Kashmiris.