When stressed doctors seek better care for themselves

‘I am overworked’ campaign seeks to highlight unregulated duty hours and increasing cases of depression

June 03, 2019 10:39 pm | Updated 10:39 pm IST - New Delhi

Illustration: Deepak Harichandan

Illustration: Deepak Harichandan

Demanding regulated working hours, and standardised working and living conditions, resident doctors across India have joined hands to start a unique campaign called - “I am overworked.”

“As part of the campaign, the doctors will be wearing a band/badge with these words while doing their duty. There will be no strike or gathering but a silent appeal to the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who is a physician and knows exactly the stress and pressure resident doctors are under while working in India. We hope that justice will be done,’’ said ex-president of resident doctors’ association, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Dr. Harjit Singh Bhatti.

The campaign, meanwhile, is aimed at “highlighting the issues of unregulated duty hours, poor working and living conditions and increasing number of depression and suicides among resident doctors in the country,” noted the group of doctors.

“On an average, the duty hours of doctors are between 13-18 hours per day which is clearly a violation of the central residency scheme. It is beyond human capacity to perform their skills to the fullest without having adequate rest, food or sleep. This overburden is causing immense stress which might result in depression and sometimes suicide,” added Dr. Bhatti.

“As the health minister is also a doctor, we have lots of expectations from him and hope that he will understand our pain, and pass an order to all hospitals of India to strictly follow the central residency scheme guidelines laid down by the Government of India,’’ said another resident from the team.

Resident doctors added that the government and the hospitals have to understand and deal with them as human beings.

“If you are seeing an average of several thousand patients annually in the government set-up, how can we expect time for ourselves? I have seen many of my colleagues crying or screaming in the closed duty rooms due to extreme work pressure.

That is when we came up with the idea of the “I Am Overworked” campaign to highlight the issues of doctors and request health ministry to intervene,” added Dr. Bhatti.

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