Interns at BJ Medical College, affiliated to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, on Tuesday wrote to their dean seeking an increase in their stipend, citing that they “form a part of backbone of Covid-19 workforce in the 1200-bed hospital”.
Following their representation, the dean of the college, Dr Pankaj Shah, has forwarded their representation to the principal secretary of the health department, adding that “college seriously feels that their request is not inequitable at all”.
Both communications — the letter addressed to the dean by the medical interns as well as the one addressed to the principal health secretary by the dean — are dated November 24, and have been accessed by The Indian Express.
The medical interns — those in the fifth year of their MBBS course — have highlighted that their monthly stipend of Rs 12,800 is “meagre” in comparison to most other states where government interns “are paid much more.”
“We have always performed our duty very sincerely and have not given much room for complaint from any faculty in our hospital,” states their letter.
The BJMC interns have highlighted that those interns who are performing their duties in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-run hospitals, are being paid Rs 500 per day as honorarium which is over and above the monthly stipend.
Relying on news reports, they also highlighted that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation pays Rs 39,000 per month for interns on Covid-19 duties, which is over and above their regular stipend.
Further, citing a health and family welfare department order of the Delhi government, the interns stated that as per the order, the interns who choose to serve in Covid-19 duty, will be paid an honorarium of Rs 1,000 for an eight-hour shift and Rs 2,000 for 12-hour shift, per day, which will be over and above the monthly stipend.
Citing a recent Gujarat health department order that stipulated payment of Rs 15,000 monthly stipend for final year MBBS and BDS students, who are on clinical duty of Covid-19 patients, the interns in their communication said, “ Looking at all above cases, we seriously feel that the stipend of Rs 12,800 seems bit unfair for medical interns of Government of Gujarat who are tirelessly and selflessly performing the Covid duties and help running 1200-bed Covid hospital smoothly even in the time of increased patient load,” while adding that by way of the communication, they are hoping for a “reasonable and at least comparable incentive/honorarium to most other states.”
Subsequently, the same day, Dr Pankaj Shah echoed the interns’ grievances, while adding that the interns are “not asking, neither expecting any exorbitant increase in the pay they are getting but they are really hoping that the government will consider their request and provide with some justifiable solution…”
The dean’s communication was also marked to Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who is the Health Minister.
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