Resident doctors in Karnataka boycott OPD, elective services

A file photo of Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute (BMCRI) campus on K.R. Road, in Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: K Murali Kumar

Demanding timely and regular payment of stipend and COVID-19 risk allowance, junior resident doctors and interns across Karnataka boycotted out-patient department (OPD) and all elective services from 9 a.m. on November 29.

Namratha C., former president of Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD), said emergency services and ICU services were not hampered by the indefinite strike. “All junior resident doctors assembled in their respective colleges and staged protests. However, all those on emergency duty continued with their regular work,” she said.

At the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI), all post-graduate doctors and interns gathered in front of the new OPD block. Holding placards and shouting slogans, they demanded immediate redressal of their grievances. Around 5,000 young doctors across Karnataka participated in the strike, Dr. Namratha said.

Tejas J., in-charge president of KARD, said, “It has been months since the COVID-19 allowance was announced, but it is yet to reach us. Our academic fee was hiked from ₹30,000 to ₹1,20,000, which is a four-fold increase. To make matters worse during these troubling times, we have been made to pay up the entire sum without any concession. Umpteen representations to the government and administration in the past one year to waive off fees for the year 2021-22 since the past academic year was spent solely on COVID-19 care with close to nil academics and clinical exposure in our chosen specialties. However, there is no response. Instead, the fee has been hiked,” he said.

“We demand that the government restructure the academic fees according to the 2018-19 academic year and immediately sanction funds for COVID-19 risk allowance. Apart from this, we also demand timely payment of stipend to junior resident doctors and interns.”

Members of KARD had boycotted services on October 7. Subsequently, resident doctors of Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMCRI) had launched an indefinite strike on November 9 by boycotting all elective duties without hindering any of the emergency services.

“The strike was withdrawn based on an assurance given by Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar that the issue will be resolved within 10 days. However, it is unfortunate that the assurance has not been fulfilled, and the intent to address the issue is clearly not visible as resident doctors were excluded from the package of COVID-19 risk allowance announced by the government recently. We are left with no option but to express our dissent. We will continue our strike till the government meets our demands,” Dr. Tejas added.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 5:08:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/resident-doctors-in-karnataka-boycott-opd-elective-services/article37747950.ece

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