Staff Reporter

"Proof of Health Ministry's autocratic style of functioning"

Strike to continue, medical services badly hit Protest supported by faculty association, young scientists, students' union Support from other medical colleges also sought

NEW DELHI: Medical services at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), including emergency and casualty, were severely affected after members of the Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) went on a flash strike on Wednesday afternoon in protest against the decision to dismiss the Institute's Director P. Venugopal.

Stating that the decision "was proof of the autocratic style of functioning of the Union Health Ministry," RDA president Binod Patro said: "The strike will continue till Dr. Venugopal is reinstated. We will not accept any other person in Dr. Venugopal's place. This decision is not acceptable to us. The decision is another step towards forwarding the agenda of the Health Minister," he said.

Supporting the strike are the Institute's faculty association, young scientists, karamcharis and the students' union. The faculty announced a 24-hour strike from 6 p.m. on Wednesday and would review the situation later.

The RDA members said they were seeking support from other medical colleges in Delhi and outside to sustain pressure on the Government.

"We have sought support from other medical colleges and in case our demands are not addressed, they will join us in our indefinite strike from Thursday," said Dr. Patro.

Patients complain

Patient care at AIIMS was badly hit with many complaining that they were either being discharged or referred to other hospitals.

"We stood in line for an admission card and when we managed to get one, we were told that the hospital staff had gone on strike. Nobody has explained to us what has happened. We just heard the doctors shouting slogans and then the hospital's main emergency entrance was shut," said Brijesh Nanda from Bihar, who accompanied his uncle, a heart patient needing surgery.

"Problems should not hit common man"

Complaining that the doctors refused to attend to him despite having paid the fee and completed all other required formalities, Ashok Kumar, who is undergoing treatment for liver cirrhosis said: "We were told to leave today and doctors said that they were not sure when services would resume at the Institute. The problems of the Director of AIIMS and the Health Ministry should not hit the common man coming here for treatment."