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Committee formed to check doctors’ private practice hasn’t met for 8 months

By Rabiya Bashir

Srinagar, Apr 14: The high-level committee which was constituted to ban private practice of doctors in J&K has not met for a single time in the last eight months.
In August last year, Health and Medical Education Department constituted a committee to implement a government order regarding ban on private practice by doctors.
Pawan Kotwal, Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department was appointed as chairman of the committee while as Director Health Services Kashmir, Director AIDS Control Society and Additional Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department was appointed its members.
But according to one of the key members of the committee, the members including the chairman have not met till now. “Yes, the committee was constituted to ban the private practice of doctor, but since the formulation, we haven’t met for a single time,” the member said.
Asked why, the member, who didn’t wish to be named said, “he didn’t have any idea.”
In the past as well, various such committees were assigned the job, but their recommendations were never implemented.
Except taking action against three faculty members of SKIMS Soura after they were caught on camera by a news channel while indulging in private practice, no such ban is in place on ground.
Several doctors who are working in different hospitals of the valley continue to do private practice during and after duty hours. “The committees were framed in past too, but what happened to their recommendations. They don’t want to upset the doctor community, “said one of the officials.
A Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly panel in 2012 called for the imposition of ban on private practice of government doctors, particularly those posted in the Government Medical College Hospitals in the state.
In January this year, Minster for Health and Medical Education Bali Bhagat informed the House that the government had issued orders and circulars from time to time regarding the ban on private practice of doctors (non-clinical), Principals, Medical Superintendents, Deputy Medical Superintendents, CMOs and HoDs in Government Medical Colleges, Govt Dental Colleges and Associated Hospitals of the state.
The private practice stands banned for SKIMS doctors since they get monthly non-practicing allowances. The government had imposed a blanket ban on the private practice of doctors at SKIMS after the latter.