‘JVC Medical College & Hospital will be modeled as Premiere Health institution’, Says Riyaz Untoo

Institution has produced many NEET and IAS Qualifiers

Kashmir Magazine

Dr. Riyaz Untoo, the Principle SKIMS Medical College Bemina, in an exclusively interview with Kashmir Magazine, talks about the problems, challenges, achievements and future prospects of the institution after resuming the charges of principle. The excerpts of the interview are:

When did you take the charge of Principal SKIMS Medical College Bemina and what were the challenges that time?

I took the charge of Principal SKIMS Medical College Bemina in July 2016. The state was passing through turmoil. The institution was short of staff both faculty and paramedics, short of equipment, machinery, ambulances and staff vehicles, drugs, disposables and above all shortage of space to manage high inflow of patients. The issue was addressed in a phased manner and most of the selections/recruitments of faculty and paramedic staff for which process was initiated in 2013 and were still awaiting written exam/interview /selection and subsequent recruitment were processed and many selection committee meetings organized including Apical Selection Committee and selection for Appointment on Academic Arrangement basis for Faculty selection, bringing down the deficiency of faculty to just around 10% at present from more than 33% in 2016 which had forced MCI to recommend to the Ministry of H&FW, Govt. of India, MBBS seat reduction from 100 to 50. Around 200 paramedical vacancies affecting patient care have been filled up since 2016 till date by expediting selection/recruitment on regular basis. These efforts were appreciated by MCI and the seat reduction recommendation was withdrawn and regularly 100 students are admitted for MBBS through BOPPE.

SKIMS Medical College Bemina was in news frequently in2016 regarding the deficiencies pointed out by MCI including MBBS Seat reduction. Has the deficiency of staff been resolved now?

The deficiency of faculty in 2015-16 MCI inspections was more than 33% along with deficiency of paramedical staff, infrastructure in the form of lack of requisite 500 bedded Hospital, Non functional ICU, absence of a Rural & Urban Health Training Centre, insufficient number of hostels for students, interns and nurses, lecture hall with insufficient seating capacity, demonstration rooms, inadequate laboratories and museums, deficiency of books and Journals in Library, non-availability of internet and other facilities, deficiency of audio visual section, photography section, separate common rooms for boys and girls, documentation facilities, deficiency of many equipments and machinery . Not only was this there deficiency of transport in the form of shortage of ambulances, staff vehicles and student buses.

What measures were taken to address these deficiencies since July 2016 under your Principal-ship?

All the above mentioned deficiencies were rectified from 2017 to 2018 and new 250 bedded Hospital along with new College/Lab block at an estimated cost 172 crores is under construction since 2018 with a time frame of 30 months and likely to be completed by ending 2020 thereby increasing the strength of the Hospital to more than 500 beds as required under MCI guidelines. Proposal for Hostels for Interns, Resident Doctors and Nurses stands approved by the Governing Body, SKIMS and is awaiting clearance from the SFC and shall be taken up accordingly.

What are the other achievements under your control since July 2016?

Besides the above mentioned measures and projects under execution, the works is in progress on various infrastructure projects like extension of Casualty, new Psychiatry Block, new Faculty Block, new Physiotherapy Department, quarters/dwellings for security staff, attendants Shelter House, face lifting of the Hospital, laying of New Roads above anticipated flood levels, compound walling of the whole premises broken down in 2014 floods, service Station with ramp for transport department, establishment of Security pickets for watch and ward staff, connecting corridors for convenient facility of CT Scan and MRI to inpatients, development of Recreation facilities for students within hostels and college, the process of acquirement of CCTV Surveillance within the Institution near completion, most of the Departments provided with all basic facilities of computers, internet, Photostats etc. as the same was not available till 2016 except in few departments, all the departmental libraries under expansion in the form of additional books, many other smaller infrastructure improvement in progress including in the field of sanitation, landscaping etc.

Patients often complain of shortage of doctors in SKIMS JVC. How did you meet this challenge?

As already mentioned few Apical Selection Committees and subsequent Selection and recruitments of faculty enabled to add 27 new regular faculties and 13 faculty members on Academic Arrangement Basis increasing the strength of faculty to 86 at present and 29 faculty members promoted in last 2 years to higher positions bringing the strength of Professors to 18 at present from 7 in December 2016. Besides this advertisement of vacant faculty posts has been issued and selection to be conducted soon. In addition to this 06 new faculty positions and 06 new Senior Residents posts were created by the Govt. in 2018. At present shortage of doctors is not affecting the teaching as well as patient care.

Students from Medical College Bemina qualified NEET and IAS examinations? How do you view these achievements of the college?

The teaching has improved both in theory and clinical sphere by regular interaction of teachers to training in Medical Education Programmes through the Medical Education Unit of SKIMS Medical College and students are taken for exposure to different institutions across the country for improving their overall vision, aims & ambitions and overall discipline.

JVC Hospital patient rush has increased and some patient complain that their dates for surgeries are posted after June 2020. Why so much delay in critical surgeries?

The rush in SKIMS Medical College has increased manifold as is evident from the fact that in just 250 bedded hospitals around 8 lakh patients visit annually. The reason behind this increase in rush is improvement in facilities which includes availability of doctors in OPD, wards and other places of work on time as Biometric Attendance is strictly followed and transport facility augmented to ensure presence of staff on time. Besides this, many complicated procedures are performed on patients of different discipline under one roof making it a choice destination for patients with multiple discipline disorders as they get treatment in all the disciplines under one roof without referral to any other hospital. Even many referrals are received from peripheral hospitals. The hospital inventory of medicines and disposables which was around 54 in 2016 is more than 156 now and patients are getting many of the items including antibiotics, intra ocular lenses for use in eye patients free of cost in the hospital and the disposables and other costlier material needed by the patients for various surgical procedures is provided on no profit no loss basis against payment from the pharmacy section thereby reducing the cost of these items. We are in the process of providing implants in the discipline of Orthopedics at nominal charges to the patients so that surgical cost is reduced. We have increased the number of investigations available within the hospital by adding advanced lab equipments. The hospital being on highway makes it convenient for patients to report to the hospital particularly from neighboring districts. The dates of surgeries is definitely going beyond June 2020 in many disciplines due to constraints of space which is being addressed by way of under construction 250 new Hospital Block.

It started as an under-graduate college of SKIMS. Any progress made in the field of Post Graduation?

Yes it is now a Post-Graduate Institute as Post-Graduation started in 2013 in the discipline of Ophthalmology and Orthopedics has been extended in Psychiatry and Dermatology as we have been able to get the permission from MCI for starting MD in these two subjects as well after bringing them up to the level of Post-Graduation. Besides this, we will be starting DNB Courses in ENT, Anatomy, and Physiology from this year as and when the approval is received.

There is no place for patients’ attendants in hospital and they are seen taking food in open lawns in scorching sun. Why?

You are absolutely right as no space was available for attendants in this hospital and in that context a proposal for making a shelter house for attendants was submitted to the Govt. and accordingly funds were provided and new shelter house is under construction and will be functional within few months thereby addressing the long pending issue.

There are many schemes of Government of India for patients implemented by the hospital administration? Do the beneficiaries of such services really get the benefits?

There are many schemes of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare GOI in the interest of benefit to the patients and most of them are being implemented and wherever thereby have been bottlenecks they are being taken care. The schemes include NPCB, National Mental Health Programme including Drug De-Addiction Programme, JSSK, PMJAY, etc.

The hospital is on highway and all accident patients are referred to SKIMS. Why?

The Hospital being on highway makes first destination to all accident cases and patients needing super-specialty care in trauma cannot be attended to in full in case multi organ involvement. Since first hour in trauma is the golden hour and patient attended have far better chances of survival, a trauma centre at SKIMS Medical College Bemina situated on National Highway is of utmost importance. Keeping this thing in mind the Governing Body, SKIMS in 2009 approved establishment of trauma centre but it was not taken up till 2016. We pursued the issue and after approval of the Chairman Governing Body, SKIMS, the proposal at an estimated cost of Rs. 75.50 crores has been recommended by the Finance Department for funding under 15th Finance Commission. The non availability of MRI also affects the patient care and accordingly the Govt. has sanctioned and released Rs 8 crores for MRI which is under process of procurement and likely to be installed in July 2019.

There are complaints that many pregnant patients reporting to JVC hospital do not get admission facility for deliveries. Why?

It is absolutely correct that many patients with pregnancy face difficulty on account of non-availability of space in the maternity ward of SKIMS Medical College comprising of just 10 beds. To overcome this issue as an immediate measure the Administration is accommodating patients in the corridors or permitting the use of any available vacant in any ward in the interest of patient care. As a long term measure a proposal has been sent to the Govt. to increase the bed strength in the discipline of Mother and Child care ( Obstetrics and Pediatrics Department) by way of amalgamating the under construction Mother and Child Hospital to SKIMS Medical College/Hospital Bemina in view of following facts.

• Close proximity will ensure better accountability and administrative control.

• b) Availability of all clinical and para clinical disciplines in SKIMS Medical College will ensure better patient care in Mother and Child care Hospital as referrals affecting the patient care due to delay are not required in view of clinical services in all disciplines available under one roof unlike other hospitals.

• Presence of sufficient staff in the discipline of Gynae and Obstt and Pediatrics and paramedical staff in SKIMS Medical College will not necessitate creation of too many posts in making the under construction Mother and Child care Hospital functional and hence functioning of this unit can be expedited in the interest of providing better patient care.

• A mother and child care hospital is needed in a Medical College and hence will not necessitate the need for a new Mother & child Hospital at SKIMS Medical College and hospital Bemina in case the under construction Mother & Child care hospital is amalgamated with SKIMS MC Hospital Bemina.

• The amalgamation of under construction Mother and Child care Hospital with SKIMS Medical College Bemina will provide the this facility to the patients a different Medical College as such facility exists in GMC Srinagar in the form of LD Hospital and it will provide improved patient care in a healthy competitive environment which in the long run is beneficial to the patients.

• The amalgamation will go a long way in achieving the objectives of the establishment of a Mother and Child care Hospital by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI, in the interest of providing better patient care to the mothers as well as children and hence bringing down the maternal and infant mortality rate.

What is your vision and mission of this institution?

We aim at making the institution as centre of excellence for academics in Medical Education, provide quality secondary and tertiary care to the patients in a caring, convenient, and accessible manner with commitment to continuous development by executing newer initiatives since, strengthening outreach programs in the interest of providing preventive health care, strengthening linkage with disability sector, strengthening of trauma and critical care work with devotion, instilling faith and trust in people as ‘Dedication fosters care’, strengthening and establishing fitness centre for better health care of the society and propagate the culture where theoretical learning meets practical experience.