Resident doctors in the state are locked in a tussle with the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) over their working conditions and hours of duty.
While the Medical Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has alleged that their long working hours are robbing them of their ‘fundamental right to sleep’ and approached the state human rights commission (MSHRC) over it, the DMER has claimed they get adequate rest and amenities. The MHRC is analysing the responses by both MARD and DMER, and will then decide if a hearing needs to be conducted.
Claiming that Maharashtra is yet to put in practice provisions of a Central Residency Scheme of 1992, which lays down guidelines for resident doctors such as duty not stretching beyond 12 hours, the MARD had written to the MSHRC, alleging they are forced to work for more than 36 hours at a stretch.
“The Supreme Court has talked of right to sound adequate sleep as a fundamental right, but resident doctors hardly get more than 3-4 hours on a daily basis,” the letter had said.
The human rights commission then issued a notice to DMER, which regulates medical education of resident doctors across the state, asking it to respond to the alleged poor working conditions.
“A four-member committee was set up to inspect 14 medical colleges and four BMC-run hospitals on the doctors’ allegations. We have found that doctors do not work beyond 24 hours at a stretch and are provided with adequate amenities,” said Dr Pravin Shinghare, director of DMER.
Buy according to doctors, with exhausting working hours and stress to keep up with the huge patient load, quality of treatment is suffering. “Doctors attached with surgery, orthopaedic and medicine department work for close to 100 hours in a week. Even psychiatry doctors work for over 60 hours as opposed to the 48 hours per week norm,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, president of MARD.
In 2015, AIIMS had unilaterally adopted the Central Residency Scheme, 1992. With Maharashtra yet to adopt the scheme amid massive shortage of medical staff, resident doctors are now demanding some form of policy to improve their working conditions.
Shinghare said the committee headed by Dr T P Lahane had inspected medical colleges and found that doctors do not work beyond 24 hours at a stretch. The report was submitted in the last week of December.
“We have also presented our views to the assembly when questions on doctors’ working hours were raised. We find the complaint of MARD to be false,” Shinghare added.