Within hours after they were terminated by government late Friday night, junior resident doctors of Rajkot Civil Hospital finally ended their four-day long strike on Saturday afternoon as hospital management agreed to most of their demands.
Leaders of the 214 junior resident doctors held talks with hospital administration and announced to call off their strike after the latter agreed to grant their demands on Saturday afternoon.
The embargo ended hours after the state government had declared the strike illegal and terminated residency of the striking doctors late Friday night. Residency forms part of practicals of post-graduate medical students who are called junior resident doctors and its termination can lead disqualification of a student from examination.
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Dr Akash Makadiya, president of Resident Doctors Association of Rajkot said resolve of the striking doctor had even strengthened after government terminated them and that they called off their strike only after assurance from hospital authority.
“Management and senior faculty (of Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Medical College, Rajkot) assured us that our demands will be made and that there will be regular follow up of the issues we have raised. This persuaded us to end our strike,” said Dr Makadiya.
The junior doctors had gone on flash strike since early hours of Tuesday after one of them was allegedly manhandled by relative of a patient.
In retaliation, the doctors had allegedly formed a group and thrashed the man before filing a police complaint. The man has since been arrested. But he too has filed a cross complaint against doctors.
Despite holding talks with hospital administration on all days of strike, the two parties could not reach any compromise till Saturday afternoon.
Implementing entry-pass system for relatives of patients, installing more CCTV cameras on the hospital premises, strengthening security arrangement, continuous monitoring of security in the hospital, setting up a new police post on the hospital campus and regular patrolling by police were among the major demands of the doctors.
“We had already expressed our willingness to meet most of their demands during first round of negotiations itself. Today, they were convinced that their demands will be fulfilled and therefore they ended their agitation,” Dr Dharmendra Vatsraj, medical superintendent of Rajkot Civil Hospital said.
Dr Vatsraj further said that entry-pass system was already in place and that they would enforce it more vigorously. The medical superintendent added that he had spoken with Rajkot city police commissioner who had in turn told him that a new police post can only be set up on the orders of state home department.
Dean of PDU Medical College, Dr Manish Mehta said, “The government had terminated residency of the doctors after declaring their strike illegal. Termination of residency can have serious implications for academics of resident doctors. But the issue has now been resolved and they residency will be restored.”
The strike had paralysed services at Civil Hospital which is the largest government-run hospital in Saruashtra and Kutch regions.
The hospital administration had to call some 40 medical officers from various other hospitals in the region even as patient flow also witnessed around a 40 per cent drop. The striking doctors, meanwhile, had opened an outdoor patient department (OPD) on the campus of the hospital as a mark of protest and also to save patients from inconvenience.
This was second such strike by resident doctors of Rajkot Civil Hospital in two years. In August 2013, the doctors had gone on flash strike after a corporator of Rajkot Municipal Corporation allegedly slapped a doctors on duty.