Routine tasks were coming in the way of them going on rounds and interacting with patients, surgeons said
House surgeons of Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital stayed away from work on Wednesday and demonstrated in front of the dean’s office for over nine hours.
Patient care in wards was affected as a result of the protest. The house surgeons demanded the hospital administration put in place guidelines on the nature of work during internships.
House surgeons — compulsory rotational residential interns — of several government medical colleges have been up in arms against the routine work — administering injections, drawing blood for investigation, taking samples to the laboratory and writing indents — assigned to them.
As a result of the work, they were unable to receive training on treatment of patients, the interns complained.
Following their representation, health secretary J. Radhakrishan sent a letter to the director of medical education and deans of all government medical colleges last week on internship guidelines issued by the Medical Council of India and the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University.
A total of 137 house surgeons participated in the protest from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. “Over the past four-and-a-half months, we have been doing the work of paramedical and nursing staff. We draw blood and take it for investigation or administer routine injections. We do not go for rounds with doctors or interact with patients,” said one of the protesting surgeons.
On some days, they worked for 36 hours at a stretch, and also moved patients from the zero-delay ward to the specialised wards. There were no weekly offs either, the protesters said. “Stanley Hospital is yet to implement the guidelines,” said the surgeon.
Following the strike, hospital dean S. Geethalakshmi assured the house surgeons that guidelines would be followed. She urged them to attend to patients without further delay.
With regard to duty hours, the health secretary, in his letter, recommended that after 2 p.m. on admission days, the unit chiefs/professors provide adequate physical and mental rest to interns by providing breaks in turns. The matter of weekly-off days, it was decided, would be taken up with the MCI and the University.