Continuing their protest against mundane, routine work assigned to them, surgical interns at Madras Medical College (MMC) and Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMC) refused to work on Thursday.

They demanding their college deans give in writing that they would be allowed to learn patient treatment and care.

The interns of government medical colleges have been on the warpath for several weeks now. Medicos must complete a year’s internship to earn their degree. During internship, they are posted to different wards for an understanding of various specialities. The interns, referred to as house surgeons, complained they were made to do routine and repetitive tasks such as administering injections, inserting IV lines, drawing blood for investigation and carrying blood bags to operation theatres and collecting x-rays.

The interns also said they were overworked and exhausted. The students said they were unable to go on rounds of wards with senior doctors as they were often called to perform minor duties.

On July 31, the government issued an order (GO) to ensure interns would be relieved of monotonous work. But that was not enough, the interns said.

On Thursday, they protested in front of the dean’s office at KMC. Dean P. Ramakrishnan said there was no need to issue a separate order as the GO was explicit.

To a question on whether interns were overworked because of lack of paramedical staff, he said: “They want us to clarify who will do the job in their place. It is of no consequence to them. We have postgraduate students, assistant professors and heads of departments who will themselves do the job.”

Interns at MMC, who also struck work throughout the day, were called in for discussions with dean V. Kanagasabai late in the evening.

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