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Senior doctors back residents’ cause,say they cannot fill in much longer

Senior doctors on Monday threw their weight behind striking resident doctors and said it would be difficult to keep government hospitals running in the absence of long-term alternative plans.

Written by Esha Roy | Mumbai |
July 14, 2009 12:13:32 am

Senior doctors on Monday threw their weight behind striking resident doctors and said it would be difficult to keep government hospitals running in the absence of long-term alternative plans. They said they would curtail their services,an indication that health care would be hit further.

Over 3,000 resident doctors remain on strike,affecting 80 per cent of government medical services in Mumbai. They have been served termination notices but are negotiating with the government.

After working round the clock for seven days to fill in for the striking doctors,senior doctors met to take stock of the situation.

“One cannot expect 60-year-old heads of departments and professors to slog for 12 hours at a stretch. We have always cooperated with the government as we don’t want patients to suffer. But we cannot carry on like this for long. So we have decided to curtail our services to eight hours a day,only attend to emergencies. We will not carry out routine teaching and administrative work,” said Dr Rajesh Dere,secretary of the Senior Doctors Association.

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“The government should see the inhumane treatment given to the whole doctors’ fraternity,be it in terms of accommodation or of pay scale,” he added.

“Resident doctors are backbone of all hospitals. One cannot run hospitals without them. Government should soon think of some long-term alternative plan. No amount of outside help can suffice,” added Dr Sanjay Oak,dean of King Edward Memorial Hospital.

With most departments shut as senior doctors opted for private practice,these hospitals depended completely on its residents.

“We are hopeful that they will call off the strike; if not we will take stock of the situation on Tuesday and even start advertising for doctors on an ad-hoc basis,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner.

Resident doctors from the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) dental faculty from across the state have joined the strike since Friday along with Ayurveda doctors from Podar College. On Monday,to show their solidarity to the striking doctors,50 resident doctors from Bombay Hospital observed a token strike after work.

The Maharashtra University of Health Services (MUHS) will decide on the cancellation of the registration of the striking doctors this week. Dr Mridula Phadke,vice chancellor,MUHS,said,“We have received a letter from the government but the deans of respective medical colleges have not communicated anything to us.”

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