Government hospitals across the State, along with numerous underprivileged patients, grapple with want of support as junior doctors in 10 government teaching hospitals enter the fourth day of their ‘indefinite strike', on Tuesday.
With nearly 1,200 post-graduate students, 1,000 interns and 200 super speciality students participating in the strike, ward duties, out-patient services as well as elective surgeries in all government hospitals have been near paralysed for four days now.
Even as emergency and trauma services have not been boycotted by the junior doctors, patients admitted in all wards have not been receiving even scant attention. Nearly 1,000 out-patients visiting each hospital everyday are also forced to wait for hours before consultation.
Health officials informed that with the PG students boycotting their services, the burden on assistant professors and professors has more than doubled. Several patients have been left miserable with few left to perform regular duties such as cleaning and dressing wounds, administering saline etc.
The AP Junior Doctors Association (JUDA) warned that the strike will not be called off until the government gives them a written consent stating that all their demands will be met.
Timely payment and hike in stipends, deployment of special protection force at the hospitals, provisions of emergency, medical and lab infrastructure in hospitals, and reduction in compulsory rural service from three years to one year are among their demands.
Health officials, however, said that the government had released an additional amount of Rs. 34.12 crore to disburse their stipends and that adequate provisions are also being made to ensure timely payment of the stipends. The demand for 40 per cent hike in stipend, they said, was unrealistic and that it cannot be accepted.