Patient care in government hospitals across the State was affected on Friday after doctors in the Health Services stayed away from all hospital services other than emergency services.
Government doctors, under the banner of Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA), went on a token strike on March 1 in protest against the State government’s decision to transfer the Superintendent of the Cherthala taluk hospital following a rift with the chairperson of the municipality.
Only emergency services and casualty outpatient clinics functioned in the hospitals. Doctors, however, did not desert the patients in inpatient wards. In many major government hospitals, doctors posted on contract by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and house surgeons attended to patients inside the casualty as some patients had come to the hospitals unaware of the strike.
The KGMOA, which has gone on an indefinite strike in the Cherthala hospital since February 27, decided to go on the Statewide agitation as a discussion mediated by the Alappuzha Collector had not made any headway. The association said that political interferences in the functioning of hospitals should not be allowed.
The government’s stand has been that the Superintendent had been transferred following a complaint by the municipal chairperson, who heads the hospital management committee. The government was forced to issue his transfer orders after the rift between the two had led to an administrative standstill in the hospital. However, the doctor had been transferred to a location more convenient to her, it has been pointed out. The KGMOA also announced a total non-cooperation strike from March 1 across the State and said that government doctors will not take charge of government programmes. .
The doctors are threatening to go on an indefinite agitation from March 4, staying away from all hospital services, including emergencies.