PG medicos to step up strike

They will continue to stay away from hospital duties

Junior residents, or postgraduate medical students, in Government Medical Colleges across the State have decided to intensify their ongoing strike by continuing to stay away from all hospital duties, including emergency services (except COVID-19 duty), even as Health Minister Veena George threatened to take dire action against the striking doctors.

Representatives of the Kerala Medical Post Graduates’ Association (KMPGA) said that they would continue to strike as all their demands, including pay hike, have been ignored by the government.

Though the government issued an order late last night appointing 373 non-academic junior residents for seven Government Medical College Hospitals, the KMPGA pointed out that the number was woefully inadequate to fulfil the daily requirements in patient services of these hospitals. In a major hospital like Thiruvananthapuram MCH, where at least 250 personnel were needed, the government has given just 70, they said.

Junior residents in all MCHs have been on strike since the past 10 days as part of the nationwide strike to protest against the inordinate and indeterminate delay in NEET-PG 2021 allotment, which has put the entire burden of patient-care activities on them.

Though Ms. George said the State has nothing to do with the delay in NEET-PG allotment (the matter is before the Supreme Court), the students pointed out that the State has not even written a letter to the Centre raising the issue.

The PG doctors also took exception to the Medical College principals issuing orders last night, asking PG doctors on strike to vacate the college hostels immediately. These orders were withdrawn today. Though Ms. George denied having any role in evicting students from hostels, the orders issued by the principals clearly showed that the said order had been issued “as per telephonic message from the Health Minister’s office and following directions from the DME (Directorate of Medical Education).”

Chaos in MCHs

Meanwhile, chaos reigned in MCHs on Friday as the authorities had to rope in senior faculty to run even casualty services. With senior residents (those doing super specialty courses) also joining the strike, the situation is threatening to turn grave.

A senior clinician said all surgical departments had seriously reduced the volume of surgeries since the past week as Anaesthesia PGs were staying away from work.

The faculty in MCHs are sympathetic to the cause of junior residents, who, they say, have been working without respite since COVID-19 began.

They pointed out that all MCHs are facing an acute shortage in human resources, which has been worsened by the government shifting out many faculty on working arrangement to the new MCHs at Konni, Idukki and Parippally, to hoodwink the National Medical Commission, which will be inspecting these colleges prior to granting these recognition.

The Kerala Government Medical College Teachers’ Association has asked the Health Minister to settle the strike of the PG students immediately as students staying away from hospitals over 48 hours can bring the functioning of MCHs to a standstill, putting thousands to hardships.

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