Services at govt-run hospitals in country hit as resident docs' strike enters 2nd day
Long queues of patients were seen outside government-run hospitals, including those in Delhi, as resident doctors boycotted routine services for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as part of a nationwide protest over the delay in NEET-PG 2021 counselling.
The worst-hit were daily outdoor patient department services, even as senior doctors looked after arrangements and the ailing.
Resident doctors’ and medical associations have said the delay in NEET-PG admission in medical colleges has caused acute shortage of manpower, and expressed concern that this comes at a time when cases of the new Covid variant, Omicron, are being detected in the country.
Besides Delhi, residents doctors are on strike in major cities of Rajasthan such as Jaipur, Kota, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Bikaner, and in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and civil hospitals in Gujarat, among other states and cities. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate (NEET-PG) courses are conducted for fields like the Master of Surgery, and Doctor of Medicine.
In the national capital, patient care at Centre-run Ram Manohar Lohia, Safdarjung and Lady Hardinge hospitals remained hit due to the protest called by the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA).
The AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) said its members will wear black ribbons at work in support of the cause of the overburdened resident doctors of the country and against the delay in NEET-PG counselling.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to ensure that post-graduate admissions are done on a war footing.
General Secretary of the Safdarjung Hospital RDA, Dr Anuj Aggarwal said, ''We are continuing with the protest because of no concrete action by the Union health ministry.'' The resident doctors have been waiting patiently for some positive outcomes of the Supreme Court proceedings in the matter. However, there seems no respite, said Dr Sunil Duchania, president, Lady Hardinge Medical College RDA.
''As withdrawal from OPD and all routine services didn't bring any concrete response from the authorities, the resident doctors have withdrawn from all services (routine as well as emergency) from December 6 in support of the nationwide protest called by FORDA,'' Duchania said.
The Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF), in a statement, said the delay in PG admissions have left them ''overworked'' and patients that they treat ''underserved''. ''Those PG students from current batches who survived their peers in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic have not only suffered immense personal losses but have also lost nearly two years of post-graduate learning which a resident doctor is supposed to acquire during their two to three years of training,'' it said. The AIIMS RDA said the delay in NEET-PG counselling is depriving Indian citizens of services of around 42,000 doctors who would have otherwise joined at least six months ago.
''Several hospitals are functioning with just two-third capacity of their total resident doctors' strength, compromising with the quality of patient care. As cases of the new variant of coronavirus are increasing exponentially globally, it is prudent that our nation should be prepared for another wave of the pandemic,'' it said. Medical services were also affected in medical colleges in Jaipur, Kota, Udaipur, Ajmer, Jhalawar, Bikaner and Jodhpur in Rajasthan due to the resident doctors’ strike President, Jaipur Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Amit Yadav, said as there were no resident doctors in the first year and heavy workload was there on other resident doctors due to the pandemic, academic activities have been badly affected.
Around 1,000 resident doctors of various medical colleges in Gujarat are on strike, claiming shortage of manpower in civil hospitals due to the delay in new admissions to PG courses has significantly increased their workload.
The resident doctors, attached to various government hospitals, had observed a similar strike on November 29 and stayed away from the OPD (out-patient department) work from 9 am to 5 pm.
''Patients will not suffer due to the strike as resident doctors will remain available for emergency duties. But, we may withdraw ourselves from other services if a lasting solution does not come soon,'' said Dr Oman Prajapati, vice president of the Junior Doctors' Association of Ahmedabad's B J Medical College, attached to the Civil Hospital.
The IMA on Monday expressed concern over the manpower shortage in healthcare amid detection of cases of Omicron variant, and said it is ''disastrous to note the postponement of NEET-PG admission in medical colleges''.
According to FORDA members, the minister and said he will get the case mentioned in the Supreme Court for an early hearing and appealed to the doctors to call off their protest, but the resident doctors refused.
In a letter to Mandaviya on December 4, the FORDA had said healthcare institutions across the country are running short of an adequate workforce of resident doctors with no admission in the current academic year yet.
''With the possibility of a COVID-19 wave looming large, the situation will be disastrous for the healthcare sector with its bearing on the country's population,'' it had said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)