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Necessity of Permanent Leadership at SKIMS

12:00 AM Jun 05, 2024 IST | Fiaz Fazili
necessity of permanent leadership at skims

SKIMS (Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences) which serves as the only tertiary care hospital in a busy valley, is undergoing a period of transition with an interim administrative secretary acting as the Director.


Despite being a temporary arrangement, this interim leadership has received significant praise for its efficiency, prompt decision-making, accountability, and ability to secure financial sanctions. It is indeed crucial for a prestigious medical institution like SKIMS, to have stable and permanent leadership.


Although the interim administrative Health secretary, acting as the director, has been commended for prompt decision-making, financial acumen, and effective management, the absence of a permanent leader is not ideal for the day-to-day operations of such a vital institution and can create challenges in managing the day-to-day operations, strategic planning, and overall governance.


Given that the election code of conduct is expected to end by the time this piece reaches state policy planners it is imperative to announce the results of the interviews and proceed with the selection of the director of SKIMS. Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), the only tertiary care hospital in our valley, has been operating without a permanent CEO for some time.


This piece highlights the urgency and importance of the CEO for SKIMS. It is imperative to announce the results of the interviews and proceed with the selection for the position of Director at SKIMS which sets clear expectations, priorities and goals for the new leader.


The state authorities must prioritize this decision, ensuring that the selection is based on merit, experience, and a clear vision for the future of SKIMS. Learning from past selection experiences, the state is expected to have identified the most suitable candidate to lead SKIMS into a new era of excellence and accountability.


As the institution prepares to appoint a new director or CEO, there are high expectations for the new leader to build on this momentum and bring transformative changes. Here are the top ten priorities for the new Director/CEO of SKIMS.


Meritocracy: Ensure that all institutional decisions, from hiring to promotions, selections prioritization are based on merit and performance, enhancing the culture of fairness and excellence. This can help in fostering a culture of excellence and fairness within the institution.

Patient and Staff Satisfaction: Prioritize the well-being and satisfaction of both patients and staff by addressing grievances, improving patient care, creating and ensuring a supportive work environment. Focus on improving the satisfaction levels of both patients and staff can be motivational to improve the trust in the system.

Patient Care: Implement strategies to improve the quality of patient care. Enhance the quality of care through updated medical equipment, updating medical equipment, increasing the availability of necessary medications, and continuous efforts staff skill development training ensuring that all staff are trained in the latest medical practices.

Talent Hunt: Attract and retain top medical professionals and researchers with competitive salaries, professional development opportunities, and a conducive work environment. Attract and retain top medical professionals and researchers to prevent exodus of competent staff to lucrative. This can be achieved by offering competitive salaries, opportunities for professional development, time bound promotions, salary revision, incentives  and a conducive work environment.

Opening of New Departments: Expand SKIMS’ capabilities by establishing new departments and specialties to cater to a broader range of medical needs. Opening of New Departments: expands the range of services offered by SKIMS by opening new super specialties. This will help in catering to a broader range of medical needs and increase the institution's capacity to serve the community.

Academics: Strengthen academic programs with improved curricula, research opportunities, and partnerships with other medical institutions. This includes not only enhancing the curriculum, increasing research opportunities, and fostering partnerships with other medical institutions but to set “Clinical practice guidelines for whole valley at primary secondary and tertiary level of healthcare .

Evidence based protocol’s , are systematically developed guidelines define the role of specific diagnostic and treatment modalities in the diagnosis and management of patients. The statements contain recommendations that are based on evidence from a rigorous systematic review and synthesis of the published medical literature to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances.

Organizational Culture: Promote a positive and inclusive organizational culture, encouraging teamwork, open communication, and mutual respect. Fostering  a positive and inclusive organizational culture ensures that all staff members feel valued, respected and their concerns or grievances well heard and  timely addressed.

Accountability: Implement clear performance metrics, regular evaluations, and enforce consequences for underperformance or misconduct to ensure accountability. Accountability is a cornerstone of effective management and organizational success.

It sets a clear message that performance, honesty, and competence are all being observed and valued, everyone knows what is expected of them. Clear goals and standards are set, the KPI measures to increase accountability at all levels of the institution which helps in achieving consistent performance.

Mortality and Morbidity Rates: Develop strategies to reduce mortality and morbidity rates. This can involve improving diagnostic procedures, increasing the efficiency of treatment protocols, regular transparent mortality morbidity meets based on could we have done better , a learning tool and exercise  ensuring that all patients receive timely and appropriate care, and all morbidities mortalities are audited with academic transparency.

Financial Management: Ensure that the institution's financial resources are managed efficiently. This involves securing funding, optimizing resource allocation, and maintaining transparency in financial transactions.

The appointment of a permanent CEO will not only stabilize SKIMS but also bring renewed hope and expectations for the institution's future. The interim administrative secretary has set a high standard, and the new director is expected to build on this foundation, driving significant improvements and innovations in all aspects of SKIMS operations.

The new director/CEO will need to be a visionary and disciplinarian, capable of driving these changes and bringing about significant improvements in all aspects of SKIMS operations. It is now time for decisive action to appoint a visionary leader who will steer SKIMS towards a brighter future, ensuring it continues to serve the community with the highest standards of medical care and academic excellence.

The author is a Practising surgeon, ex Alumni  of SKIMS  , Certified professional in Healthcare Quality and Healthcare policy analyst.