Almost all services at government-run hospitals in the state came to a standstill on Wednesday — the second day of the indefinite strike by resident doctors.
Around 4,500 resident doctors of government-run hospitals went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday evening, demanding pay hike. Intern doctors have also gone on an indefinite strike, supporting the resident doctors’ cause and demanding better pay.
Senior medical officers, too, had also called a token strike on Wednesday.
The resident doctors are demanding a pay hike on par with resident doctors working in central hospitals across the country. Besides, they also want better living conditions, heightened security in hospitals, medical insurance and sick leave. A delegation of resident doctors tried to meet state health minister Rajendra Shingne on Wednesday but failed to do so, the striking doctors said.
“The minister had previous appointments, we have left our letter of demand,” said Dr Jeevan Rajput, president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD).
The resident doctors claim that their stipend of Rs 15,000 per month was less than half of what their counterparts in other parts of the country get paid.
“We work for 24 hours as compared to doctors in other states who work for eight hours. We are demanding equality. Besides, we neither get leaves nor insurance,” said Dr Anil Dudhbhate, general secretary, MARD.
Senior state officials said they are trying to end the strike.
“The government is considering their demands and seeking some solution. Talks are on with the striking doctors as well,” said Dr Pravin Shengare, joint director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research.
Services at hospitals were badly hit on Wednesday.
“We are distressed. This is busiest time of the year. Several patients with fever, typhoid and malaria were waiting, but we couldn't treat everyone,” said Dr Sanjay Oak, dean of KEM hospital.
“We had 95 doctors working in three shifts who did 33 operations and treated 836 people. Yet this is miniscule to in comparison to the nearly 5,500 patients who visit us daily,” added Dr Oak. Around 700 resident doctors and interns of KEM hospital are on strike.
The situation was the same at JJ hospital.
Allahabad resident Moh-ammed Ramzan (26) didn’t know where to turn for help. His month-old son and was slated to undergo a surgery at KEM, but it was postponed. “He throws up whatever food he eats. He is under so much pain but what can I do? I was told doctors are striking.”