The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association (TNGDA) has demanded the withdrawal of a recent Government Order which effected an increase in the duty hours of doctors working in Primary Health Centres (PHC) across the State. TNGDA, which organised the State-wide protest on Monday, has called the Government Order (G.O. 225) issued by the Director of Public Health on July 25 arbitrary and inhuman. According to a statement from TNGDA, duty hours of doctors in PHCs had been from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for several years. The recent GO has increased the duty hours by an hour as doctors have been asked to work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Under the old duty schedule between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., PHC doctors had been working for 42 hours a week apart from five hours of call duty. The new duty schedule mandates PHC doctors to work 48 hours a week excluding the call duty hours. The TNGDA statement said that over 11 lakh government employees and teachers in the State work only 37.5 hours a week. The Pay Commission had recommended an average of 40 hours work per week for government employees, it said. TNGDA State secretary N. Ravishankar led the protest held on the premises of the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital. Protest in Tiruppur In Tiruppur, members of TNGDA staged a demonstration outside the office of Deputy Director of Health Services (DDHS). They raised slogans against the G.O. 225 and demanded its immediate withdrawal. The doctors also submitted a petition to the DDHS demanding not to increase the duty hours.