The Andhra Pradesh Government Doctors' Association has decided to launch a relay hunger strike at Osmania General Hospital from April 12. Initially, members of the association were to stage their protest from April 6 but the programme was postponed because of the disturbances in the old city.

Secretary-general of the association K. Ramesh Reddy said the doctors' protest by wearing black badges, launched on March 25, was continuing. He said doctors at all hospitals across the State were expressing their dissent between 9 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. by abstaining from duty. However, he said, doctors involved in emergency duty were attending work. We are taking care that patients who need urgent medical attention are not affected,” Dr. Reddy assured.

Continuing the agitation, doctors at teaching and non-teaching hospitals, including PHCs, would go on mass casual leave on April 21, he said. The association had extended the deadline for conceding their demands from March 31 to April 5. They demanded that all ‘Arogyasri' cases be taken up only in State-run hospitals and that only if facilities were not available at a particular hospital, they should be referred to corporate institutions. Other demands include implementation of revised pay scales recommended by the University Grants Commission with retrospective effect from November 2006 and promotions to fill 500 senior vacant posts.

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