Junior doctors in the state went on an indefinite strike on Monday demanding withdrawal of GO No.93 which allows private hospitals to collect extra fees from students to pay their stipend for the next academic year.
Nearly 16,000 medicos _ more than 13,000 undergraduate and 3,000 postgraduate medical students _ abstained from duty in the government teaching hospitals attached to the 14 medical colleges. They boycotted all, including emergency services. Emergency services at Gandhi Hospital in and Osmania General Hospital were affected by the strike. Patients were seen waiting in long queues at out-patient wards.
The strikers shouted slogans in support of their demands and accusing the government of adamancy. They are opposing GO No.93 which was issued on July 1 empowering colleges to collect fees equivalent to the total stipend payable for the period of the course from candidates at the time of admission to PG medical colleges.
AP Junior Doctors Association general secretary Phani Maheswar Reddy said that though they had served a strike notice, the government remained unmoved. “Instead of looking into our demands the government is prolonging the issue and even threatening us. The strike will continue till our demands are accepted. Department of medical education officials have till now not responded to our demand and have not even bothered to contact us,’’ he alleged.
The association is also demanding setting up of a special committee to look into the implementation of the mandatory rural service rule.
Health minister Kondru Murali, taking exception to junior doctors going on strike, warned them that action would be initiated against them if they did not resume their duties.
“If the situation does not improve, the government will be forced to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA). Junior doctors go on strike every year on one issue or the other and put the common man to hardship.