Patient care takes a beating as PG medicos strike enters 14th day

Medical college hospital services badly hit as PG medicos' stir intensifies
Photo: Manorama News

Thiruvananthapuram: The strike called by post-graduate (PG) medical students in government medical college hospitals in Kerala has entered the 14th day on Tuesday. As patient-care services have been badly affected the government has softened its stand and successfully persuaded the house surgeons not to participate in the agitation. Health Minister is scheduled to hold talks with the PG doctors on Tuesday.

The health department had earlier taken a stand that there was no question of holding any talks with the PG doctors.

Health Minister Veena George's private secretary held discussions with the representatives of house surgeons on Monday, a day after they threatened to boycott duties. Their demands including that on workload and stipend were conveyed.

The house surgeons, however, decided to continue their strike till 8 am on Tuesday. Latest reports indicate they have resumed duties.

The future course of the agitation would be decided after the meeting with the minister, the House Surgeons Association stated.

Meanwhile, the standing strike (nilpusamaram) of Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) in front of the secretariat entered the seventh day on Monday. 

The KGMCTA shot off a letter to the health secretary demanding that the decisions taken by the goverment should be re-examined. 

IMA state president Dr Samuel Koshy and secretary Dr Joseph Benvan urged the government to resolve the doctors strike through negotiations.

The PG doctors took out a march to the Secretariat on Monday.

OP services hit, surgeries deferred

On Monday, the joint strike of PG doctors and house surgeons crippled health care services in government medical college hospitals causing huge problems to the patients. The situation aggravated further when Kerala Government Medical College Teachers Association (KGMCTA) boycotted Out-Patient Departments from 8 am to 11 am in protest against government's directive that the additional workload arising out of PG doctors strike would be handled by the assistant professors.

On the call given by the KGMCTA, senior doctors boycotted OPs for two hours at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital.

Even though the health department made an attempt to put in place an alternative system to ensure that the OPs do not get affected, the move did not succeed fully. In all hospitals the presence of  doctors in OP wings was less than 50 percent.

The functioning of OPD of the Government Medical College Hospital, Thrissur, was affected partially on Monday. Only emergency surgeries were performed at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. 

Doctors of various departments were summoned at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital to examine out-patients. Only 50 per cent of the scheduled surgeries were performed at the hospital.

Patients complained that senior doctors at the Alappuzha Medical College hospital were refusing to take new cases. 

The house surgeons of the hospital are on strike since Monday in protest against the alleged assault on a woman house surgeon by minister Saji Cherian's gunman Anish Mon.

The office-bearers of House Surgeons Association has warned that if the accused is not arrested by Tuesday they would boycott even COVID-19 duties.  

Discharge of patients from the Kannur Medical College Hospital was delayed due to the strike.

IMA comes out in support

The state unit of the Indian Medical Association has sought immediate intervention of the government to resolve the PG doctors strike.

The IMA will also join the agitation if there was any delay in finding a solution, it warned.

The national president of  IMA Dr J A Jayalal alleged that the governments were having an indifferent attitude towards doctors' agitations across the country. 

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