The junior doctors of Hyderabad’s Gandhi general hospital, who have been on a strike for the last two days, have decided to join back regular duties after members of the Telangana Junior Doctors Association (T-JUDA) called off the strike Friday morning.
However, they have given a 15-day deadline for the state government to honour its promises.
The strike, which started on Tuesday evening, was a result of alleged assault on junior doctors at the COVID Acute Medical Care Unit (AMCU) by attendants of a deceased COVID patient. The two attendants were arrested and remanded to judicial custody the next day.
The protesting doctors demanded distribution of COVID treatment among other state-run hospitals and district hospitals to avoid the mounting caseload on the Gandhi hospital.
Dr Lohith Reddy, president, T-JUDA- Gandhi hospital, told indianexpress.com that the government has assured to resume treatment of non-COVID cases in Gandhi hospital, like in the case of other state-run hospitals, and agreed to start treatment for COVID patients in district hospitals too.
“He assured to decentralise COVID treatment. He said he will talk to the cabinet. We will wait for 15 days and if we don’t get the promises implemented, we will have to boycott duties and start a more intensive protest,” he added.
In a press note, the T-JUDA members said their decision comes in the wake of the minister’s reassuring words and keeping the public health and the ongoing pandemic into consideration.
The demands accepted by Health minister Eatala Rajender, according to JUDA, include recruitment of doctors, nurses, patient care providers, and sanitation workers to fill the shortage and also have a 30 per cent extra force in reserve.
The minister has also agreed to deploy special protection force (SPF) personnel in all government medical colleges and hospitals as the recruitment is already underway, the note added.
“Gandhi is a super-specialty hospital, capable of handling (for free) a variety of acute and chronic diseases (medical/surgical), poor patients can be best benefited by resuming non-COVID services here. This will be done after consulting the cabinet,” the note added.
The JUDA members, quoting the health minister, also said that the management of SARI and symptomatic COVID positive cases will be decentralized and adequate provisions will be made for the treatment of these cases in their respective district hospitals and all private medical colleges for better patient care delivery.
The quality of the PPE kits for health care practitioners will be chosen by JUDA before the government places a purchase order and adequate provision of the PPE kits will be ensured. They added that a committee will be formed by JUDA that would follow up with the minister regularly (through video conferencing) for the next 15 days on updates of the demands.