VIJAYAWADA: The junior doctors working at the State COVID-19 hospital staged a protest here on Friday demanding 45 per cent hike in stipend. "The junior doctors in Andhra Pradesh are the least paid compared to all the neighbouring States. On an average, a junior doctor in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and West Bengal gets Rs 50,000. Here we are paid only Rs 34,000. Our stipend hike has been pending since January this year," said Siddhartha Medical College Junior Doctors Association president Karthik Gouda.
They also demanded life insurance for those who have been working during the pandemic and have lost their lives. "A health cover of Rs 1 crore and immediate release of insurance amount should be given to all doctors," he said.
Further, Karthik Gouda said that States like Odisha and Maharashtra are providing incentives to the junior doctors who are posted on coronavirus duties. "Odisha is paying Rs 1,000 per day to each junior doctor who is on COVID-19 duty. Even we are working round-theclock but we are not paid a single penny extra," he lamented.
Responding to them, Director of Medical Education A Venkatesh said, "The government had already released an order mentioning 15 per cent hike every two years. But the junior doctors are demanding higher than that. Our secretary is discussing the issue with the government to decide how much hike could be given."
The association also complained about the poor quality of PPE kits and N95 masks provided to the junior doctors at all COVID-19 hospitals across the State. "The junior doctors had complained about the quality of PPEs. We bought new PPEs for junior doctors, but still they are not satisfied with the quality. We will buy the next lot as per their demands," clarified State COVID hospital superintendent Nancharaiah. The junior doctors of SMC have announced boycott of duties from August 8, if their demands were not met.