Lax reporting of vacancies to Public Service Commission, unavailability of candidates

As many as 357 posts of specialist doctor in government hospitals remain vacant in the State.

The alleged laxity of the government in reporting vacancies to the Public Service Commission (PSC) in time and the reluctance of specialist doctors in joining the State Health Service are being cited as the main impediments in filling the vacancies.

Official sources told The Hindu here on Saturday that 56 posts in general medicine, 63 in surgery, 48 in gynaecology, 30 in paediatrics, 19 in orthopaedics, 38 in anaesthesia, 23 in psychiatry, 14 in ophthalmology, four in physical medicine and rehabilitation, 12 in radiology and 13 each in respiratory medicine, ENT and dermatology, seven in dental and four in forensic medicine are vacant.

Specialist cadre

The specialist cadre has been introduced in general, district and taluk hospitals and in certain community health centres to extend the service of specialist doctors to the common man. The government created 2,001 posts in this cadre.

PSC sources say the recruitment process remains to be initiated only for 10 vacancies reported by the Health Department, which are in the anaesthesia department.

Chinks in system

The chinks in the reporting system have come to the fore at a time when the government has been repeatedly claiming that a mechanism is in place for reporting the vacancies that arise in all the government departments from time to time. Recently, the government issued a circular to the heads of departments that vacancy reporting should be done in a foolproof manner without laxity, and action would be taken against officials who failed to comply with the directive.

Consolidation efforts

As part of the fiscal consolidation efforts, the Finance Department had clamped restrictions on spending. Though no specific orders have been issued against reporting the vacancies, there was slackness in the process and that has become quite obvious in the case of the Health Department. But for issuing periodic directives, there was no follow-up to find out if the authorities concerned are acting diligently on this score. Leaving such a large number of posts vacant will defeat the purpose of forming the speciality cadre, sources say.