Strike hits medical college hospitals
Thiruvananthapuram The functioning of hospitals of all five government medical colleges in the Kerala, where the best and most up-to-date treatment is available at low cost, has been thrown out of gear following an indefinite strike launched by junior doctors and students Monday.
Postgraduate students, senior resident doctors, house surgeons and students of the government medical colleges went on strike to demand a repeal of the state government policy that after postgraduate and super-specialty courses, doctors should undergo a year's compulsory rural service.
Currently, one year's rural service is compulsory after the MBBS, which is the basic course. This means a doctor completing a super-specialty course has to complete a total of three years compulsory rural service. Doctors and students on strike allege this is a ploy by the government to fill the large number of vacancies for doctors in rural area as the posts offer a very low salary.
"We are prepared to serve people in rural areas, but we don't want to work as casual workers for three years. We should be paid a decent salary," said Dr Ramesh, a junior doctor on strike.
Although the health minister held discussions with the leaders of the agitators an amicable solution was not found.
"The government's offer was that the policy will be frozen for the time being, but the government is not able to withdraw it as the policy has been laid down under the guidelines issued by the union health ministry. But this was not acceptable for the striking doctors and medical students," Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar told Gulf News.
The government has decided to take a tough stance against the strike as it will deny medical care to the state's low-income group.
The health secretary has directed principals of all government medical colleges to suspend the junior doctors on strike and asked the principals to seek the service of house surgeons and junior doctors of private medical colleges.