PANJIM: Symptomatic of the dreadful neglect of mentally ill patients by society, the government too seems to be callous to their plight as indicated by the appointment of a Class XII pass, diploma holder in handicrafts as an occupational therapist at the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, Bambolim.
delays, simple disinterest has led to the non-filling of crucial posts including that of director putting the entire care of mentally ill patients in jeopardy.
In a startling revelation Health Minister Laxmikant Parsekar informed the Goa assembly in a written reply that the post of occupational therapist who is responsible for assessment of the progress made by patients in their motor skills, verbal skills, interests and social interactions has been handed to a Class XII pass, female handicrafts instructor.
The written reply by Parsekar also states that the IPHB is so severely short staffed that 24 posts, mostly of specialists, are lying vacant.
It may be recalled that Herald had in a series of reports highlighted the absence of a full time director, an occupational therapist and a medical superintendent and the absence of other vital facilities in the institution.
To an unstarred question raised by Fatorda legislator Vijai Sardessai, the Health Department has given the same excuses for neglecting the proper management of the crucial institute.
To a question whether the government intends to appoint a full time director and the time frame for the same, the minister replied that they do intend to appoint a full time director but that “the post has not yet been created and it involves a lot of administrative procedure.” The house was informed that the proposal for creation of this post is under consideration of the government.
It has been 11 years since various governments have cited ‘administrative procedure’ as the reason for non appointment of the director. Previously the head of the Department of Psychiatry of Goa Medical College officiated as the director.
Regarding the post of occupational therapist, the minister replied that “the post of occupational therapist is vacant at present. The same was advertised thrice, but no suitable candidate was found till date and that suitable steps will be taken to readvertise the same.
The post of the librarian too is vacant, for want of framing of recruitment rules.
Besides the posts of two clinical psychologists, one pathologist, two social workers, one dietician, one pharmacist, two lab technicians, four staff nurses, one investigator and six sweepers are vacant either because the recruitment rules have not been frames or because no suitable candidates were found.
The absolute lack of urgency in filling the post and providing infrastructure displays utter negligence to the plight of mentally ill patients, opined activists.