Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam today said the functioning of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura involves larger social issue linked to the public healthcare in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The immediate concern of the Governor’s Administration is to restore the stature of this premier institution so that it comes up as a research-oriented healthcare facility,” Chief Secretary said at a meeting with the staff, faculty and administration of the institute during his visit to SKIMS, on the last leg of his 3-Day tour to Kashmir, today.
He asked the SKIMS administration to focus on improving professional and academic stature of this premiere teaching, training, research and healthcare institution for which he assured liberal financial assistance from the Government.
“While we have finest and talented medical professionals available in SKIMS, the need is to just think out of box to bring it up as a world class tertiary care facility,” he said and assured that funds are not an issue for the government. “SKIMS shall not suffer for want of funds. But don’t be incremental. Think big and think grand, we in the government are there to support you,” he maintained.
Chief Secretary observed that while infrastructure upgradation is critical to providing improved healthcare facilities, there should be matching thrust on advancement of academic and research activities at the Institute. “There has to be renewed focus on streamlining SKIMS functioning to secure the trust and esteem of the public at large and all stakeholders,” he said and added that to achieve these objectives it has to be ensured that the services and the quality of healthcare are significantly improved and there is regular flow of information about the outcomes in academics and research at SKIMS.
Chief Secretary asked SKIMS administration to focus on tertiary care and set up a process for screening of patients at district level before they are referred to SKIMS. “You can set up Outreach Clinics in districts to reduce the load of patients while focussing on promoting more research with external funding and capacity building in medical care,” he said adding; “Like Saifi Hospital in Mumbai, the aim of SKIMS administration should be to chisel a world class institution which caters to patients across the Middle East and other countries,” he said.
“This institution serves a noble cause. It has a glorious history, the credit for which goes to all of you. There is a sense of pride among people working here who are comparable to the best in the country. And we in the government are committed to develop SKIMS as a world class institution,” he said and suggested various initiatives to be taken to upgrade healthcare facilities at the Institute including filling up all vacant faculty positions in a time-bound manner, setting research targets for the Faculty, setting up Department of Clinical Research, involving SKIMS in the training of staff from Health Services institutions in the peripheries, deputing clinicians/staff from SKIMS periodically to various medical institutions of eminence like AIIMS New Delhi/PGI Chandigarh for capacity building and setting up new and much-needed super-specialties so that patients do not have to travel long distances for treatment.
Chief Secretary remarked that the matter of referring files regarding the infrastructure development and other issues at SKIMS to the civil secretariat frequently must stop. “The interface of the SKIMS with the government should be limited to Governing Body meetings. We will explore ways for delegation of financial powers and restructuring of various committees for making SKIMS a truly autonomous institution,” he said.
Chief Secretary also visited wards, some facilities and interacted with the faculty of different departments whom he complimented for their dedication and untiring efforts to provide best possible healthcare facilities to common people.
Director SKIMS Umar Javed Shah, administrative officers of the tertiary care facility and senior faculty members of the institution also accompanied the Chief Secretary during his visit.
During the interaction with the administration and the faculty, the Chief Secretary was informed about the limitations of the institution at different levels including shortages of equipment, medicines and surgical disposable, and space.
He asked the Director SKIMS to prepare a comprehensive list of departments, existing position of doctors and equipment, space requirement and other requirements, and project it to the government. The Director SKIMS was also directed to prepare a separate note for requirements to start work at State Cancer Institute (SCI) and Maternity Hospital.
“In the next fifteen days, the state share for SCI will be released. The government is looking forward to start the SIC by 1 April 2019,” he said, while promising to examine the implementation of the SRO 283 which governs the recruitment rules at the institution.
Earlier, Director SKIMS gave a brief presentation about the functioning of SKIMS, a deemed university which is involved in patient care and research. He said the SKIMS cater to population of 12 million with bed strength of 806. During their interaction, the faculty spoke about the shortage of staff and sought the CS’s intervention in relaxation of recruitment rules.
The Chief Secretary promised them that the government will examine their demands considerately.