Incharge addl chiefs at helm in DMER, health services hit

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Three crucial wings of DMER headed by temporary charge holders, who have other duties; it affects effective delivery of services

At a time when Covid pandemic has caused a health crisis the state would have wanted its top posts in the medical department to be in the safe hands of senior-most officials i.e. additional directors, who are permanent appointees. But for whatever reasons all three essential services wings of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) are currently handled by in-charge additional directors. This has direct bearing on delivery of health services, besides affecting the running of government hospitals and affiliated medical colleges.

The three wings of DMER consist of medical education, public health and medical services. Additional directors of these departments are the go-to officials for all crucial decisions relating to their day-to-day functioning. The in-charge officers on these posts would inevitably not be able to perform duties as well as any permanent appointees – for one they are holding double charge, one of their own specialisation and the other ad hoc. Case in point: On Tuesday, the extension given to additional director of medical services, Dr H K Bhavsar, ended, and the baton was passed to Dr R V Pathakji. The new incumbent would have to pick up the ropes and discharge additional duties while performing tasks of his parent posting. The medical services wing is responsible for efficient handling of district and sub-district hospitals, the staff working there, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and look after recruitment, work allotment and transfers of the staff. Quite a handful of duties for a seasoned regular, leave aside an in-charge boss.

The medical education wing too is making do with an in-charge additional director. He charge was handed over to Dr Girish Parmar, who is already functioning as dean of the dental department in the Civil hospital medical college, after then addl. dir. Dr R Dixit took ill four months ago. The education wing looks after staffing and running government medical colleges, hospitals affiliated to them, and overseeing UG and PG medical course studies. The public health wing is currently handled by in-charge additional director Dr Dinkar Rawal after regular appointee Dr Prakash Vaghela took VRS from the job.

Addl director vital post, the go-to officer

A senior officer in DMER said that officials in hospitals, PHCs or medical colleges approach additional directors for decisions on all work-related issues. An in-charge official in the post is usually hesitant to take decisions as he is not very conversant with the normal practices there, and this causes delays in execution of tasks. Plus, the in-charge is already burdened with the affairs of their posts. Attempts were made to reach health commissioner Dr Jayprakash Shivhare for comment, but he was not contactable.

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