The government on Friday issued showcause notices to resident doctors on strike,asking them to resume work by 2 pm on Saturday or face expulsion from their respective medical colleges.
The notice is being sent individually to the 2,993 doctors on strike,through the Director of Medical Education and Research (DMER). Deans of colleges will serve the notices on the doctors, said Dr Pravin Shinghare,deputy director,DMER.
Under rule 10.3.8,the state can expel doctors who go on strike and refer the matter to the Maharashtra University of Health Services for cancellation of their registration. They will not be eligible to appear for their postgraduation exams either, said Bhushan Gagrani,principal secretary for medical education.
In Pune,Gagrani said no appeal from the doctors will be entertained. He dismissed their demand for the Central Residency Scheme,saying it is not applicable to Maharashtra. The showcause notices were issued under the State Residency Scheme,1996.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) remained unfazed. Its president Dr Jeevan Rajput said,Its do or die. Secretary Dr Anil Dudhbhate added,The notice hasnt come to us yet but we will continue the strike.
The medical college in Aurangabad has received the notice. At KEM,dean Dr Sanjay Oak said,Once we get the instructions,we will carry it out.
The state move comes after Jan Manch,a citizens forum,filed a writ in the Nagpur bench of the High Court. In 2007,the state government had given an undertaking that if resident doctors go on strike,it will expel them, said Anil Kilor,Jan Manch lawyer.
A government official said,If we hadnt taken this step,it may have invited contempt proceedings. That does not mean we are not ready to negotiate with the doctors. The health department has already sent a proposal for Rs 6,000 pay hike, said a government source.
Patients continued to suffer though MARD started parallel outpatient departments at the civic-run Sion and B Y L Nair hospitals. We dont want people to suffer, said Dr Vashishth Manira,MARD general secretary (Sion Hospital).
The parallel OPDs at Sion can handle 500 patients an hour and 71 were treated on Friday. The one at Nair Hospital had around 90 patients,said Dr Samadhan Mitkari,MARD president at Nair.
Sena backs them,attacks govt
The Shiv Sena threw its weight behind striking resident doctors on Friday and attacked the government for ignoring public healthcare. It is the failure of the government that resident doctors had to call a strike. The longer the strike continues,more poor patients will be affected and the strikers will be blamed. That is why it is not accepting their demands, the Sena said in an editorial in Saamna.
It endorsed the demand for better pay and facilities,and rubbished the states contention that this would affect its finances. It also attacked the government for saying it would hold discussions only after the doctors join duty.
Of the state of public hospitals,the Sena said,The government cannot do anything to stop the loot of patients in the private sector,but a threat of punitive action is given out to doctors who provide medical aid to common people in government hospitals.
The Sena,however,conceded that some doctors were guilty of absenteeism,rudeness and unwillingness to work in villages.