Over 4000 government doctors in Karnataka who had embarked on a resignation spree demanding better pay and designations called off their two-day-old strike on Wednesday following a meeting of representatives of the Karnataka State Government Medical Officers Association with chief minister Siddaramaiah.
As many as 900 doctors were reported to have resigned since the protests began. Essential services in government healthcare facilities were however not adversely affected since the government managed to make temporary alternate arrangements.
The KSGMOA on Wednesday claimed to have achieved a breakthrough in the deadlock with the government following a meeting with Chief Minister Siddaramiah where doctors were assured that their demands would be met, a KSGMOA official said.
“Our demand was for the state government to accept our demands in writing. Chief Minister Siddaramiah has assured that the demands would be met so we are withdrawing our protest and seeking an apology from the public for inconveniences,” KSGMOA president Veerabhadraiah said.
Doctors allied with the KSGMOA launched a protest on Monday demanding wage hikes and re-classification of designations of some doctors. Despite the Karnataka minister for health and family welfare U T Khader stating that the government was willing to hike wages the doctors submitted their resignations to the health minister on Monday and went on a strike.
To counter the strike, the state health department deployed staff from medical colleges, public and private hospitals at government hospitals resulting in a minimal impact from the strike.
“We had no issues is dealing with the strike but in one case a government doctor in Chitradurga was given a showcause notice for turning away a maternity patient. Another similar case in Kolar is being investigated and action will be taken if staff is neglected patients,” U T Khader said.
The minister, however, said that though the doctors had withdrawn their protest, the health department will ask each of the doctors who resigned if they are interested in continuing with the government or not.
“They have to provide answers to the show cause notices issued to them for denying medical services to poor patients otherwise they must reveal the names of those who coerced them to resign. Blackmailing the government is high-handedness and we want to remove all elements who were involved in it,” Khader said.
The minister said that many of the doctors had resigned under duress.
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