THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ending four days of uncertainty in the public health sector, the Kerala Government Medical Officers' Association (KGMOA) called off its strike on Monday night. It followed the association's three-hour conciliatory talks with Health Minister K K Shylaja.
Seven key decisions, including the KGMOA's promise to cooperate with evening outpatient duty at family health centres (FHC) and extending its wholehearted support to the Aardram Mission, were taken at the meeting.
Meanwhile, taking a strong stance against lightning strike call by doctors, the Health Minister warned if such protests were repeated, the government would initiate strong action against those concerned.
With the KGMOA raising various issues related to the implementation of Aardram Mission, the Health Minister said a committee headed by the Health Secretary will be constituted to hold talks with the association representatives. After that, a minister-level meeting will be held in the first week of May.
"It will be ensured the FHCs have three doctors in its rolls. Alternative arrangements will be ensured in instances where a doctor has to abstain from duty due to various reasons. For that, a reserve team to be managed by the respective District Medical Officers and District Programme Managers will be constituted," said Shylaja.
According to the Minister, the department will consider the aspect of redeploying staff from centres where staff strength is relatively high to centres which have high patient turnout.
Meanwhile, in the case of the doctor at Kumaramputhur FHC in Palakkad who was suspended for not appearing for duty, the Minister said if the doctor is ready to provide an explanation, the department might reconsider the disciplinary action taken against him.
Sources said the conciliatory talks gained speed as the Health Minister has to leave the state on Tuesday for attending the CPI(M) Party Congress, which will get underway at Hyderabad from Wednesday.
While the KGMOA did not want to drag the issue further, the Minister is also said to have reconsidered her stance after considering the fact that the doctors' strike might be used as a political weapon by the Opposition, especially in the backdrop of the strong stance taken by the State Human Rights Commission and the growing disapproval among the public.