Poll compulsions fuel new AIIMS, faculty vacancies big headache

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AIIMS
New tertiary care hospitals mean less movement of patients to centres like AIIMS

Earlier this year a Parliamentary committee had told the Govt expansion pointless without filling vacancies

The fact that the Union cabinet continues to approve new AIIMS without plugging gaps in the existing ones, though understandable in an election year, belies rational planning. The latest to get the nod of the Union cabinet on Monday are AIIMS like institutes in Tamil Nadu and Telengana. That the government is struggling to fill faculty position in AIIMS New Delhi and the six functional “new AIIMS”, is well known.

In fact, earlier this year, a Parliamentary committee told the government that without filling up vacancies expansion would be a practically pointless exercise.

AIIMS Delhi

“The Committee are of the view that the institute of such high stature has to have not only sufficient manpower but also the most efficient manpower. However, the committee feel disappointed to find from the submission of the government that there are 245 vacancies int he faculty and 2025 vacancies in non-faculty staff strength of AIIMS New Delhi and 1303 vacancies in the faculty of six new AIIMS established in different states of the country. In this regard the committee note that off (sic) late, the AIIMS have given special focus in the past one year on the filling up the vacancies. As a result 300 additional faculty  members and 1000 nurses have been recruited in AIIMS, New Delhi and 301 faculty positions also filled up in the six new AIIMS,” the Lok Sabha committee for subordinate legislation noted in its 26th report on the rules and regulations under the AIIMS Act 1956. The report was tabled during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

In 2016, a total of 1,300 posts were advertised for the AIIMS at Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh. Only 300 were selected and just 200 finally joined

During the UPA era six new AIIMS were set up under the scheme in  Bhubaneshwar,  Jodhpur, Patna,    Raipur and Rishikesh. Others are now coming up in the states of West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.

Stating that the huge shortage of non-faculty staff reflects the “flawed recruitment policy” of the institute, the committee in its report asked the health ministry to formulate a personnel policy covering optimum staff ratio, more so, with the coming up of new AIIMS. “The issue of manpower shortage in AIIMS be addressed urgently, otherwise the expansion of AIIMS would be futile because in the absence of good doctors and staff, the patients will not get proper and timely medical facilities,” the report said.

In 2016, a total of 1,300 posts were advertised for the AIIMS at Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh. Only 300 were selected and just 200 finally joined. Lack of facility, concerns about quality of life and education options for their children are just some of the things that make people reluctant to join these institutions, officials say.

Hard pressed to find faculty and even directors, the ministry is now mulling replacing the top posts in new AIIMS by an executive director to bypass the age restriction of 65 years as per the AIIMS Act.

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