Health-care not hit, doctors tell High Court

Government has been assured of all help, says KGMOA

Government says doctors’ strike is illegal

Kochi: The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) has said that there was no strike by doctors and that all doctors were working in their own hospitals, attending all patients who visited hospitals and complete patient-care had been provided on every sphere of treatment.

In an affidavit filed in response to a public interest writ petition seeking to declare illegal the strike by doctors before the High Court, the KGOMA said that there were no circumstances justifying invocation of the provisions of the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA).

If the provisions were invoked, the poorer and downtrodden would be “put to peril.” It said that everybody had supported the “non-cooperation movement/agitation undertaken by the KGMOA and supported its action.” The cause of “the prolonged non-cooperation agitation of the association” was the adamant attitude of the government.

“There is no mala fide or extraneous reason behind this agitation.”

The association contended that there was “no paralysing of work or any denial of patient care or denial of treatment to any patient who visits the hospital.” All the members of the association were “on full-fledged work” in their hospitals and so it could not be taken that they were on strike. The affidavit also denied the allegation that the special team constituted by the government to work at places such as Sabarimala was not functional.

In fact, the KGMOA had given the government the assurance that if it found any difficulty in arranging doctors for Sabarimala duty, members of the association were ready to cooperate.

But the government took retaliatory measures against the members of the association. The contention that health service activities outside the hospitals had come to a halt was not correct. No health-care activities except certain camps were organised outside hospitals.

The affidavit said that around 400 doctors had expressed their willingness to opt for voluntary retirement due “the negligent attitude of the government” towards the members of the health service. Around 600 doctors had submitted their resignation to the KGMOA.

About 90 per cent members expressed their willingness to relinquish their job due to the step-motherly attitude of the State. he association had requested the government to rectify anomalies in the 2006 pay revision. In fact the government had effected the revision of pay with respect to nearly 10 categories on different occasions. The KGMOA members did not require any allowances. Meanwhile, the government in its affidavit said that the strike by the doctors was illegal and extreme steps would be taken if the doctors did not withdraw the strike.

The government would not tolerate any failure on the part of the doctors to provide health-care to the people. The government was trying to make alternative arrangements at Sabarimala.

The government had placed 52 assistant surgeons and 7 civil surgeons under suspension on charges of dereliction of duty at Sabarimala.

The health service had not been paralysed totally. Doctors were attending the hospitals but not attending the VIPs or festival duties.