Doctors' strike affects functioning of medical colleges in Kerala


The Minister told reporters that the demands of the protesting doctors are being met by the government and the appointment of the non-academic junior resident doctors in medical colleges is on.

Doctors striking in Kottayam | Photo: Mathrubhumi archives

Thiruvananthapuram: The government medical colleges across Kerala faced a severe crisis on Monday due to the continuing strike of PG doctors raising various demands. The protest, on for the last four days, was against the state government's alleged failure in fulfilling their demands, including restoration of the 4 per cent annual salary hike of resident doctors.

The patients, who reached the medical colleges from faraway places, were seen going back without getting treatment as the house surgeons also joined the strike. Meanwhile, State Health Minister Veena George urged the doctors to return to work saying the patients must not suffer.

The Minister told reporters that the demands of the protesting doctors are being met by the government and the appointment of the non-academic junior resident doctors in medical colleges is on.

"The interview for the non-academic junior resident doctors is going on in medical colleges. The State government is taking steps to meet all the demands of the doctors. However, I would like to urge the doctors to not make the patients suffer," Minister said.

She said the issue related to stipend of the doctors and other matters were already being discussed with the Finance Minister.

On December 11, the government issued an order to appoint 373 non-academic junior residents in medical colleges. However, the protesting doctors claimed that the number was not enough. The Minister said the other demands, including withdrawal of PG doctors from PHCs and first-line treatment centres, were already accepted.

The strike affected the functioning of OP services. Only emergency surgeries were conducted today.

"The doctors are on strike. Half of the patients were turned away and only the emergency and the COVID treatment facility are working fully," a patient, who reached the hospital in Thiruvananthapuram from Adoor, almost 100 km away, told the reporters.

The situation was no different at Kalamassery medical college in Ernakulam district. A huge crowd was witnessed in front of the OP counter and patients alleged that they had to wait hours to meet the doctor. Many departments remained shut.

The Kerala House Surgeon's Association informed that the strike will continue till 8 pm on Tuesday and that if the needs put forward by the doctors are not accepted, then the strike will continue.

The standing strike led by the Kerala Government Medical Officers' Association (KGMOA) in front of the secretariat against the unfair salary revision has completed 6 days. The protest that was organised by the Idukki District committee on Monday was inaugurated by former KGMOA state president Dr O S Shyamkumar.

(With inputs from PTI)

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