Docs to go on strike, no OPDs will work at AIIMS, Safdarjung today
All out-patient clinics and routine services will remain suspended on Friday in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Safdarjung Hospital with over 3,500 resident doctors from the two hospitals striking work in support of the doctors who were allegedly beaten up in West Bengal.
Officials said senior doctors will run the emergency department and the ICUs. The two hospitals see almost 20 thousand patients in their clinics, with 40% of them travelling from neighbouring states to seek treatment.
“Around 1,600 resident doctors from Safdarjung will go on a strike tomorrow to show solidarity with the doctors from Bengal. This will affect the clinics and routine services, however, we will ensure that the emergency department functions properly,” said Dr Prakash Thakur, president of Safdarjung Hospital’s resident doctors’ association.
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Around 100 routine surgeries are scheduled in each of the hospitals every day, which are likely to be cancelled due to the strike.
“Routine OT services will largely remain suspended. However, some specific cases may be taken up for surgery as per feasibility and mutual agreement between concerned faculty,” reads a letter from AIIMS medical superintendent, listing contingency measures for the strike.
A doctor from Kolkata’s Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital (NRS) sustained a skull fracture after an attack by the relatives of a patient who died on Monday. Doctors from Kolkata went on strike on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Delhi doctors joined in their protest, with resident doctors from AIIMS and Safdarjung working with a bandage on head and wearing helmets.
“The ongoing and worsening of violence against medical doctors in West Bengal is worrisome and disheartening. There is a complete breakdown of law and order, with reports of mobs attacking doctor’s hostels with weapons. The government has failed to provide protection and justice to doctors. AIIMS RDA condemns this,” read a letter by the doctors’ association.
Studies show that 75% of all doctors in India have faced some form of violence.
Apart from the two hospitals, the Delhi Medical Association also called for a doctors’ strike, which might result in doctors from private hospitals skipping their clinics.
All other government hospitals, under the banner of Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), will go on a strike on Saturday. “We held a candle light march today, but for a strike at a government hospital we need to give at least a 24 hour notice. Hence, we will be going on a strike on June 15,” said Dr Sumedh Sandanshiv, president, FORDA.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union health minister, urged the doctors to observe restraint so that essential services are not disrupted.“Doctors are an integral pillar of the society and often work under stressful and difficult conditions. I urge the patients and their caregivers to observe restraint,” he said.