BANGALORE: More than 900 doctors have resigned, but don’t worry. Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader told reporters on Monday that the government had a contingency plan ready to provide health services in government hospitals.
Of the 2,353 Primary Health Centres in the state, there are no doctors in about 300 PHCs. Here, the Ayush doctors, nurses and pharmacists will manage the situation. “We will also utilise the services of PG doctors and MBBS interns. They will be deputed to various PHCs all over the state,” Khader said.
Pregnant women, whose due date is very close, have been requested to get admitted three or four days in advance at taluk or district hospitals to avoid any inconvenience.
A control room with a dedicated phone number would be set up by Tuesday to enlist the services of private doctors, who are ready to volunteer to serve the patients under these circumstances. The patients can also call up Arogya Sahayavani number 104, he said.
H C Ramesh, State Health Director, said the department has approached the Medical Education Department to depute at least 100 doctors from its colleges. The minister has sought the cooperation of private medical colleges.
Elaborating on the measures, he said 700 doctors from Rashtriya Bal Suraksha Kariyakram and doctors from Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) Department would be deputed and 108 ambulance service would be briefed to take up emergency cases.
Khader said, “As many as 911 doctors have submitted resignations. None of the resignations have so far been accepted. Decision on each resignation would be taken only after examining whether the resignation has been submitted under any threat, pressure or inducement,” he said after a meeting with Health Department officials.
“We are not in a hurry to accept the resignations. We are receiving phone calls from many doctors saying that their resignations have been taken forcibly,” he said.
The minister dropped clear hints about weeding out the rough elements and those with political inclinations within the doctors’ fraternity by selectively accepting the resignations to take the wind out of the sails of the doctors.
Of the total 14 demands, the state government has agreed to implement 10 demands. “The demand for pay parity of doctors in the Health Department with their counterparts in Medical Education Department and condoning the unauthorised leave of doctors are among the demands which the government is not in a position to implement immediately,” Khader said.
Doctors Meet at Freedom Park
All the 911 doctors working at various government hospitals sent their resignation letters to the Department of Health and Family Welfare on Monday. The decision to resign was taken at the general body meeting of the Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) at Freedom Park in Bangalore. Doctors were asked to come in person to the department and submit their resignations areawise, under Mysore, Gulbarga, Belgaum, Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural sections.
There was confusion at the time of submitting the resignations as the department officials said group resignations would not be accepted and that each resignation had to have the signature of the doctor on it. They also insisted that the resignation form must clearly state that the doctors are “resigning out of their own will” and not “because they were dissatisfied with the job.”
Addressing the protesters, Dr H Raveendra, president, KGMOA, said, “If the government accepts our resignations, we will set up co-operative hospitals in our respective taluks and render our services there. Our intention is not to cause inconvenience to the patients.”
Prohibitory Orders (under section 144 CrPc) were clamped in a one-km radius of Freedom Park. Despite this, the association members staged a protest. Over 100 policemen, along with two DCPs, were deployed to ensure peace.