Kerala: Strike by medicos has had cascading effect on medical college hospitals

House surgeons to go on token strike, faculty members threaten to suspend teaching

Published: 13th December 2021 02:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th December 2021 02:41 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala: Strike by medicos has had cascading effect on medical college hospitals

Resident doctors protesting at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College | file Photo

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : At a time the state is anticipating the possibility of yet another surge of Covid, the services of medical college hospitals are getting hampered due to the ongoing protest by resident doctors and the government’s apathy to resolve the crisis. Already, most of the emergency services have been affected adversely due to the ongoing strike by resident doctors.

This has had a cascading effect, with house surgeons deciding to go on a token strike on Monday because of the high workload and faculty members threatening to suspend teaching if their duty hours are not reduced. These development are happening when health experts have pointed out the need to keep the MCHs ready for the ongoing fight against Covid. The resentment is mainly due to the extra workload in the absence of an entire batch of resident doctors.

The shortage is caused by the delay in commencement of the new resident batch of postgraduate courses for 2021. As a result, the MCHs face a shortage of over 1,000 resident doctors and their absence has started hampering the treatment given to the public. The MCHs have been depending on the second- and thirdyear PG students for the functioning. These resident doctors complain that they are being overburdened and cannot devote time for academics.

The striking resident doctors’ decision to boycott also the emergency services from December 9 has hit the functioning of MCHs severely. Now, senior doctors as well as house surgeons have complained that the shortage of these staff members has led to extra workload for them. The house surgeons have now announced a token strike on Monday. They also demand the health department to reinstate the higher stipend. The compromise in services has often landed the doctors at the receiving end of bystander’s rage. A recent attack in Alappuzha MCH has also turned the house surgeons against the government. “The violence adds stress to the already stressful work environment.

The government has not taken steps to give deterrent punishment to those involved in violence. If it fails to arrest people behind the attack in Alappuzha MCH, we will be forced to begin a strike,” said Kerala House Surgeon’s Association 21-22 president Dr Ashin Anand. The senior doctors and teachers said the situation in the MCHs are going to get worse if the government fails to make proper intervention. “I have just completed a 24- hour duty. We cannot go on like this unless the government finds a solution.

The job burden adds to the stress created by the mass transfers and curtailment of various benefits,” said Kerala Government Medical College Teachers’ Association (KGMCTA) president Binoy S. “If the strike by PG students continues, the services in MCHs should be limited to emergency care. It will affect elective surgeries and related treatments. The faculty members will be forced to suspend teaching because it would be difficult for us to focus on courses after the heavy duty in the hospitals,” he added.

The KGMCTA has warned the principals and department heads against giving more than 12 hours a day and 48 hours a week hospital duty to faculty members. It also warned that the fatigue would affect the treatment and the principals would be responsible if the patients were got poor treatment. Health Minister Veena George has said the government has limitations in intervening in resolving the strike of resident doctors. The first-year PG admission is within the purview of the Supreme Court, she added. She has refused to meet the striking resident doctors.

The department has decided to appoint 373 Non-Academic Junior Residents (NAJRs) who are qualified MBBS graduates to fill the gap of over 1,000 vacancies created due to the delay in starting the new PG batch. The interviews for the NAJR is scheduled to commence on Monday.

However, the faculty members said the steps are not adequate to address the crisis. “An NAJR is not equivalent to a resident who is learning the specialisation as part of her or his academic work. Thiruvananthapuram MCH has got just 50 NAJRs to replace close to 500 residents,” said a faculty member of the MCH.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp