The State government has decided to initiate action against government doctors under the National Security Act, as efforts to convince them against boycotting all medical services from Friday turned futile.
With nearly 65,000 employees, including 4,000 doctors, of the Health Department threatening to strike work, hospitals in the districts and taluks are expected to be severely hit.
Doctors from across the State have planned to assemble in Bangalore on Friday to demand that the 10 government district hospitals run by the Health Department be delinked from the district medical colleges run by the Medical Education Department.
Services at the four main hospitals in the city — Victoria, Bowring and Lady Curzon and Vani Vilas — will not be hit as they come under the Medical Education Department. However, the services at K.C. General Hospital, Jayanagar General Hospital and others run by the Health Department are expected to be hit.
M. Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, told The Hindu that the government had instructed district magistrates and top police officials to invoke provisions of the Act under Sub-Section 2 of Section 3 as it was likely to effect essential health services.
Appeal through SMS
Earlier, Mr. Madan Gopal appealed to the protesters through short messaging service to drop the strike plan. Claiming that most of their demands had been met, he said the strike was unwarranted and was against public interest. “We have written to the Home Department to issue a notification and a decision has been taken,” he said.
The protestors, however, were adamant. “We will shutdown all medical services including emergencies,” H.N. Ravindra, Karnataka Government Health Department Officers and Employees’ Welfare Samiti, said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioners and zilla panchayat chief executive officers have been directed to make alternative arrangements by deploying the services of the contract staff in the department and hire private doctors, if required. “We hope good sense will prevail on the doctors. They cannot fight for their demands at the cost of the patients. They will be responsible for if any untoward incidents happen,” Mr. Madan Gopal added.