The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) has written to the Health Ministry on Thursday announcing its decision of “withdrawal from all services (including emergency services)” by resident doctors in healthcare institutions from December 17 (Friday).
Doctors are demanding expediting of the NEET-PG 2021 counselling and admission which has left nearly 50,000 aspirants in the lurch.
“The overburdened and exhausted resident doctors of the nation have been protesting since November 27, 2021, against the multiple delays and postponement of NEET-PG 2021 counselling which has led to non-admission of fresh batch of resident doctors for the current academic year,” said FORDA president, Dr. Manish.
The NEET PG counselling process has been delayed repeatedly due to cases in the Supreme Court over reservations for the economical weaker section.
FORDA said in its letter the agitation that began with withdrawal from OPD services by resident doctors, gradually escalated to “withdrawal from all service” (routine as well as Emergency) since there was no concrete measure taken by the concerned authorities for fast-tracking the court hearing and for expediting the counselling process.
FORDA added that subsequently, following compilation of a plea for fast-tracking the court hearing by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), considering Health Minister’s assurance and various other factors including patient-care, the agitation was put back on hold on December 9, 2021 for a period of one week.
“But nothing concrete has materialised after that. We urge the Health Ministry to take necessary measures in the subject matter on an urgent basis. As prior informed, in case the matter is not addressed by December 16, we will be once again forced to call for “withdrawal from all services” in healthcare institutions,” the doctors said.
They added that the onus for the unfortunate situation affecting healthcare services will be on the concerned authorities.
Deployment of 50,000 PG candidates has been kept hostage for a policy, the criteria of which are yet to be studied and decided, and the legal validity of which is unclear as of yet. This is despite the fact that Omicron variant has entered India, said FORDA members.
The Association said children and youth from economically weak section, have to survive the real and present danger of acute reduction in number of doctors treating the diseases and trauma they suffer today, before they can avail EWS qouta in the future, when and if it gets defined and is deemed legally valid.
The resident doctors claim that they are against the fact that the policy that will not be formulated until 2022 is being forced upon an exam that was supposed to happen in 2020.
“Protest is a democratic right, yet resident doctors and their representatives face punitive action by state and institutional authorities even when their protests do not hamper emergency services, which are taken care of by senior doctors who have not joined the protest,” said FORDA.
Doctors have asked the Health Ministry to conduct NEET-PG 2021 counselling immediately. “These doctors are indispensable assets of this nation, do not abandon them and their patients,” they said.