The resident doctors at Safdarjung Hospital called off their strike on Thursday after health ministry officials and the hospital administration conceded to most of their demands, the foremost being hostel accommodation for doctors.
"We are calling off the strike because the Director General of Health Services, Government of India, Dr Jagdish Prasad has given us an assurance that he'll come up with a concrete plan about the accommodation for doctors. The rest of the demands such as drinking water, sanitation, security issues for women, payment for internship, Wi-Fi connection in the hostel, timely payment of salaries, shortage of staff in the hospital and proper eating joints have been accepted," said Dr Sameer Prabhakar, spokesperson, Resident Doctors' Association.
"The DGHS will meet us again on Tuesday after taking up the hostel issue with the health secretary. Till then we'll discontinue the strike," he added.
The meeting was attended by officials from the health ministry, Dr Jagdish Prasad, Safdarjung Hospital medical superintendent Dr BD Athani and representatives from the doctors' association.
"We have decided to address most of their grievances. We've sorted out a long-term and short-term plan to meet their demands. They are our doctors and it is our responsibility to look after their problems and address them," said Safdarjung Hospital MS Dr Athani.
According to sources, there are just 78 rooms for 1,000 doctors in the present hostel. In the next couple of years, the number of doctors is likely to double. "Our HRA (Rs 9,000 on an average) is so nominal that we cannot afford a rented house outside hospital," said one of the resident doctors.
In 2003, a plan was approved the health ministry to build eight blocks for accommodation of PG students and resident doctors at West Kidwai Nagar. Later, only five blocks were built for PG students and the three hostels for resident doctors never saw the light of day.
"Departments like surgery, anaesthesia, paediatrics, and obstetrics had been badly affected because of the doctors' strike," said a senior consultant at Safdarjung.