Safdarjung resident doctors call off strike

Resident doctors of Safdarjung Hospital Thursday night called off their indefinite strike demanding better facilities and security.

New Delhi: Resident doctors of Safdarjung Hospital Thursday night called off their indefinite strike demanding better facilities and security after two rounds of talks with Union Health Ministry officials who promised to look into their grievances.

The leaders of the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) held a second meeting with the top of officials of Ministry and hospital this evening, hours after the first deliberations yielded no agreement.

"The officials have agreed to consider all our demands including release of four months salary of interns, availability of potable water in all wards, upgradation of canteen and security in the premises.

"As far as demand of hostel is concerned, they have assured us to come up with the concrete plan by Tuesday. Hence, we are discontinuing our strike till then," said Dr Sameer Prabhakar, spokesperson of RDA, which represents around 900 resident doctors of the hospital.

Doctors have decided to immediately resume the services in the hospital, he said.

Dr BD Athani, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, said the doctors have called off the strike and are joining duty.

Besides hospital officials, the second meeting was attended by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Jagdish Prasad, an additional secretary and a joint secretary of the Health Ministry.

Earlier in a day, the resident doctors, who were observing strike for the 2nd day, had decided to continue with their agitation as the first meeting with the officials had failed to reach at any conclusion.

They had gone on strike yesterday evening protesting against scarcity of hostel rooms in the hospital premises. They also had grievances relating to salary and security issues.

The protesting doctors demanded that despite manifold increase in the number of resident doctors in the hospital, the administration has failed to construct new hostels for them and doctors are bound to put up in the private accommodation located outside the campus.

"There are only around 100 rooms, including 21 rooms for accommodation of married doctors, available in the hospital despite the fact that number of resident doctors working here is around 900", said the RDA spokesperson, adding that hostel upgradation is the foremost demand of RDA.

Though OPD services were hit, the protesting doctors did not suspend the operation of the crucial intensive care units (ICUs), casualty, labour room and emergency departments of the hospital, officials said.