Rashid Paul

HC asks J&K admin to re-examine permitting private practice by govt doctors

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Srinagar: “The permissibility of permitting private practice by government doctors and medical employees (amid COVID pandemic) deserves to be seriously re-examined,” J&K High Court has warned.

The notice came in a petition filed by Advocate Shafqat Nazir which said that many medical procedures are not being performed in the Government Dental College and Associated Hospitals of Government Medical College Srinagar  (on the pretext of COVID pandemic), but many doctors and practitioners employed in these hospitals are carrying out all those procedures in their private clinics.

The petitioner submitted that permission for private practice by doctors and paramedics employed in government hospitals is used by them “to build their large private practices by diverting patients from government hospitals to their private clinics”.

“If what is submitted by the applicant is correct, it suggests the adverse manner in which health services would be made available to patients seeking treatment in government hospitals and facilities,” observed the court.

“The contended disservice to the residents of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and prejudice to the public interest is a serious matter and the permissibility of permitting private practice to government doctors and employees deserves to be seriously re-examined,” it warned.

The court observed that patient-care and public interest has to be placed on the highest pedestal and optimized. Government doctors and professionals cannot be permitted to use their employment and public facilities for building private practices and commercial exploitation.

“Attending to lucrative private practices has to resultantly diminish and detract from the attention which a professional would pay to his salaried public position as a government doctor,” said the court.

The court noted that employment opportunities in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are by far, extremely few.

“Large numbers of people are without financial resources, and health facilities are either not available or insufficient. Such practices as complained by the applicant need to be urgently brought to a halt,” it said.

The court directed that the application and observations made in today’s judicial proceedings on the matter be served upon the Chief Secretary of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure the issue is earnestly examined.

It directed the competent authorities to examine the practices which are prevailing in other States and Union Territories on this aspect and listed the matter on 1st day of next month.

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