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Resident doctors in Delhi call off strike

The Delhi government on Tuesday said it would explore all options to bring the striking government hospital resident doctors to work, and added that the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) could be invoked if they do not resume their duties by evening.

delhi Updated: Jun 24, 2015 01:37 IST
AAP,doctors on strike,ESMA

Doctors in the national capital called off their two-day long strike on Tuesday, hours after Delhi government invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against them to normalise the functioning of the hospitals run by it.

Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain said that the agitating doctors called off the their strike and conveyed it to the government.

"Resident doctors' strike called off," Jain tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Delhi government invoked ESMA to force an end to the strike which had crippled healthcare services in government-run hospitals across the city.

The doctors were on strike since Monday pressing for hike in salaries as well as seeking government's intervention in other issues.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Monday said that government had accepted all the demands of the doctors and that there was no need for a strike.

Jain had earlier said that the government "accepted 19 demands" put forth by the striking doctors during parleys between the two sides.

"During the meeting, they made five more demands which, too, were accepted and (we) also circulated the minutes of the meeting," added Jain.

Talking about the doctors' demands, he said that a major concern was over security and he had met the Delhi lieutanant governor seeking police cover at government hospitals.

"Security was a major concern... so I met the Lt Governor seeking security arrangements at government hospitals. The L-G has ordered Delhi Police to provide adequate security at the hospitals," Jain said.

He added that he will review the situation in this regard after three months along with the doctors.

"Certain demands -- like increasing hospital beds --cannot happen in three months. We are working on increasing beds in hospitals and also constructing new ones, which will take some time," Jain said, adding that he has already asked the health department to strengthen emergency services.

"Most of the medicines are available and 100% medicines will be available by August 15," he said.

The health department had accepted 19 demands of the striking resident doctors and ordered them to resume their work by 11 am Tuesday.

However, the doctors continued with the strike demanding concrete measures as they claimed that the "government has in the past given similar assurances but failed to deliver".

Government doctors launched an indefinite strike on Monday demanding adequate stocks of life-saving drugs, security at the workplace and timely payment of salaries, etc.

With the doctors staying away from duty, citizens visiting government hospitals had a harrowing time as the out patient department (OPD) and ward services were affected by the strike.

However, a doctor at Safdarjung Hospital claimed that "emergency services were not interrupted and managed by senior doctors".

First Published: Jun 23, 2015 17:18 IST