Updated: June 30, 2022 10:26:50 am
Up in arms against the Telangana government over unpaid salaries and pending stipend dues, 698 senior resident doctors working in 28 government hospitals in the state went on strike on Wednesday.
According to senior resident doctors, they joined one-year compulsory service in November 2021, after completion of their post-graduation, at 18 medical colleges, including 11 hospitals under the Osmania Medical College. While most of them have not received the monthly stipend of Rs 80,500 for the last 3 to 5 months, many have not received the stipend since they joined the service seven months ago.
“We are in our thirties and we have not begun our careers yet. We have spouses and aged parents to take care of. How do I explain that even after a post-graduation in medicine, we have to borrow money from friends and families to live a regular life? If the government had not forced us to do one year of compulsory service, we would have found well-paying jobs,” said a senior doctor while requesting anonymity.
Issuing a strike notice to the Director of Medical Education on Tuesday, the Telangana Senior Resident Doctors Association (TSRDA) resolved to stage protest demonstrations in a phased manner by boycotting elective services, both outpatient and wards, on Wednesday. They have urged the government to respond positively, failing which they would not hesitate to boycott emergency services as well from July 1.
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The strike notice said the senior residents have been relentlessly serving patients at their respective hospitals and medical colleges, even without proper accommodation, travel, or even basic facilities. They underlined that many of them are married and need to look after their families.
“While some senior residents did not receive stipends since they joined in November 2021, all others were not paid salaries in the last four months…The lack of response from the authorities despite repeated persuasion is disheartening. We have been working without stipends in the best interest of the patients. But our thresholds are breached and our financial responsibilities have become overwhelming,” the letter said, adding, “At this juncture, though unwillingly, we are forced to protest for our rightful payment to support our families.”
On Tuesday, 11 senior residents at Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital staged protests over the issue. A similar protest was held outside the office of the Director of Medical Education as well to press for their demands.
As part of their one-year compulsory service starting November 2021, doctors were posted at Government Medical Colleges at Mancherial, Nizamabad, Jagtial, Ramagundam, Sangareddy, Siddipet, Warangal Urban, Mahabubabad, Mahabubnagar, Wanaparthy, Nagarkurnool, Nalgonda, Suryapet, Kothagudem, RIMS-Adilabad, TIMS-Hyderabad and Gandhi Medical College and Hospital.
Similarly, doctors were also posted at 11 hospitals under Osmania Medical College, namely Osmania General Hospital, Niloufer Hospital, MNJ Hospital, Chest Hospital, Institute of Mental Health (IMH), ENT Hospital, Fever Hospital, Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital (SDEH), Modern Government Maternity Hospital (MGMH), Govt. Maternity Hospital in Nayapul (GMH), and King Koti District Hospital.
Doctors at IMH, SDEH, and Mahabubnagar GMC have not received stipends in the last seven months, whereas doctors at DH King Koti and RIMS-Adilabad have not been paid their stipends in the last five months. All others have not received stipends in the last three months.
Among other demands, they have also demanded that senior doctors of the 2018 MD/MS batch and 2019 PG Diploma batch who worked during the peak of the second wave in May 2021 be paid a stipend for the month. They have also demanded the three months’ extension of service during the second wave of Covid be included in the ongoing compulsory one-year service so that they can be relieved by the end of July.
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