AHMEDABAD: Nearly 3,000 resident doctors at various medical colleges in Gujarat abstained from duty in out-patients departments (OPD) from 9 am to 5 pm on Wednesday, intensifying ongoing agitation against the postponement of NEET-PG counselling.
The protesting doctors, who have been on strike since Tuesday, have claimed that the delay in counselling, a part of the admission process, was causing an acute shortage of doctors at civil hospitals and has increased their workload.
Apart from students of the six government-run medical colleges in Gujarat, several resident doctors of trust- and society-run medical colleges have also joined in the strike and stayed away from OPD duty.
"Nearly 3,000 resident doctors across the state joined in the strike on Wednesday. At Ahmedabad civil hospital, we have withdrawn from emergency services as well after 5 pm, as there is no assurance from the authorities yet. The strike will continue," said Dr Oman Prajapati, vice-president of the Junior Doctors' Association of Ahmedabad's BJ Medical College.
The Union government recently put on hold the counselling for the NEET-PG 2021 until January 2022 over some issues.
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate (NEET-PG) courses are conducted for fields such as Master of Surgery and Doctor of Medicine.
As the counselling process is stalled, a new batch of PG students, one of the protesting doctors said.
"In the absence of new students, hospitals are running with 35 per cent resident doctors. This has significantly increased the workload. We want the government to hire medical officers on a temporary basis to resolve the issue of staff shortage," said a resident doctor of NHL Municipal Medical College of Ahmedabad.
Nearly 160 resident doctors are on strike in Vadodara, said Dr Ranjan G Aiyer, the medical superintendent of state-run SSG Hospital.
"This strike has indeed disrupted our OPD services because resident doctors are an essential arm of hospitals. Luckily, third-year resident doctors are working. We have already started the process of hiring medical officers from outside to fill the gap," Dr Aiyer said.