The state government, on Thursday, issued expulsion notices to 4,500 doctors across the state for participating in the indefinite strike called by the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD).
“If they fail to join work immediately, we will expel them from the hostel and cancel their postgraduate registration,” said Vijay Kumar Gavit, state medical education minister.
Gavit also said the government had agreed to a majority of the demands before the strike. “We are also prepared to evoke the Maharashtra Emergency Servi-ces Maintenance Act. Hospitals in Pune have withdrawn and others will follow suit,” he added. However, MARD officials said the strike in Pune is still on.
The government also plans to appoint doctors from the state health department to run patient services at medical colleges. “We will continue the strike till our demands on stipend hike and better security are met,” said Dr Swapnil Kulkarni, spokesperson, MARD. Currently, resident doctors earn a monthly salary of Rs. 31,000, which they want increased to Rs. 41,000.
Despite the notices, doctors continued their strike and initiated a parallel outpatient department (OPD) service on footpaths outside KEM and Nair hospitals. More than 600 patients received treatment at these make-shift OPDs, said MARD officials.
Most public hospitals such as KEM, Nair and Sion Hospital are performing half the number of surgeries than normal. “We usually perform over 100 surgeries, but with the absence of resident doctors, we are only treating emergency cases, which account to about 40-50 surgeries,” said Dr Avinash Supe, dean, Sion Hospital.
Resident doctors from JJ Hospital also joined the strike on Thursday. “Doctors in Aurang-abad have got threats from the administration to vacate hostel premises,” Dr Kulkarni added.