Doctors and other staff of the Health Department called off their five-day strike on Tuesday, bringing much relief to the public.

The doctors announced that they were withdrawing the strike “considering the plight of the patients for the time being”, while their demands were still pending.

Demanding that the 10 government district hospitals run by the Health Department be delinked from government medical colleges run by the Medical Education Department, nearly 65,000 employees of the Health Department, including 4,000 doctors, were on strike from February 8.

The protest, which had shut down hospitals and primary health centres run by the Health Department, caused untold misery to patients.

Inpatients, especially newborns and those who had undergone surgery, were the most affected. Dialysis services were hit in K.C. General Hospital in Bangalore because of disruption in water supply.

The doctors, whose meeting with the Health Minister Arvind Limbavali on Monday did not yield a positive response, had announced they would continue the strike till their demands were met.

H.N. Ravindra, president of the Karnataka Government Health Department Officers and Employees’ Welfare Samiti, said the strike was being withdrawn for the time being.

“We will wait for some more days and see if the government fulfils our demands and then decide on the future course of action,” he said.