Medical crisis deepens; Raj docs resign en-masse

The medical crisis in Rajathsan due to an indefinite strike by doctors deepened on Friday with 5,000 medicos submitting their resignations.

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2011, 00:07 AM IST

Jaipur: The medical crisis in Rajathsan due
to an indefinite strike by doctors, which has crippled health
services and left over a dozen patients dead, deepened on Friday
with 5,000 medicos submitting their resignations.

All the government doctors working in hospitals,
dispensaries, primary health centres and resident doctors of
all the six medical colleges are on strike since December 21.
Private doctors and medical teachers also stopped work
today for four and two hours respectively in support of
in-service doctors who are demanding redressal of their
long-pending demands of pay hike and time-bound promotions.

A representative of the All Rajasthan in-service
Doctors` Association handed over resignations of 5,000 doctors
of the state medical and health department.

"Dr Durgashankar Saini met the director and handed
over to him resignations of 5,000 doctors of various
districts. Several other doctors in different districts have
also forwarded their resignation to respective district
collectors," Vice-President of the Association Mahesh Sharma
claimed.

He alleged a crackdown on striking doctors who have been
arrested under Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act.

Sources said due to unavailability of medical assistance,
around a dozen patients including at least five in
Jodhpur and one in Jaipur have died so far. Deaths were
reported in Sikar, Bikaner, Bharatpur districts also.

"It is very painful that around twelve patients have
died at different hospitals but it is all due to the state
government," Sharma said.
SS Agrawal of Indian Medical Association, Rajasthan
branch, said, "All the 6116 in-service doctors are on strike
but the government has no sensitivity. Today, around 10,000
private doctors and 2000 medical teachers joined them".

State medical and health minister Duru Miyan said that the
government is open to talks.

Miyan said after a high level meeting that the government
is making all possible efforts to minimise the impact of the
strike by engaging retired doctors and those from BSF, army
and railways.

"We have sought help from BSF, Army and Railways and made
additional arrangements. The government is open for talks
because the strike is not in the interest of the people," the
minister said.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has suspended nine
government doctors for remaining absent from work.

On the other hand, BJP demanded from the government to
address the issues of the agitating doctors.

State president Arun Chaturvedi said that the government`s
attitude towards the doctors is unfortunate and chief minister
should step in to resolve the issue in the interest of public.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) condemned the state
government`s move to invoke RESMA and termed it a repressive
step.

"Action against doctors is undemocratic and a repressive
move by the government and RESMA should be lifted with
immediate effect so that doctors may return to their
hospitals," Hetram Beniwal, state president of CITU said.

"The government should clarify why it did not take step
to negotiate with doctors when the doctors had given them
enough time for that before the strike," he said.

The CITU also appealed from the doctors to understand
the problem being faced by patients.

A government spokesman said that alternative medical
arrangements are being made in the state as directed by
Rajasthan High Court.

The Jodhpur bench, following a petition seeking a ban on
the strike in public interest, directed the state govrnment
yesterday to make proper arrangements.

Principal Secretary of Medical and Health, B Sharma said
that the government is engaging retired professors and doctors
on daily honorarium basis.

PTI