Junior doctors in Bihar threaten to boycott work from Aug 27
In a letter to the state’s principal secretary (health),the Junior Doctors Association (JDA), Bihar, claimed that the government, while revising their stipend it on May 9, 2017, had said it would be reviewed every three years.
Amid rising cases of Covid-19 cases, around 600 junior doctors in Bihar have threatened to boycott work indefinitely from August 27 demanding a raise in stipend and relaxation in clauses of the government bond for post-graduate (PG) medical students.
The junior doctors, who are at the frontline of the battle against the pandemic, have demanded that their monthly stipend be progressively increased to Rs 80,000, Rs 85,000 and Rs 90,000 during the three-year PG course. At present, they get Rs 50,000, Rs 55,000 and Rs 60,000, respectively.
In a letter on Friday to the principal secretary (health), the Junior Doctors Association (JDA), Bihar, claimed that The government, while revising their stipend it on May 9, 2017, had said it would be reviewed every three years.
The JDA also demanded provision of study leave in the government bond so that doctors, after completing their PG, could pursue higher superspecialty courses like DM, M.Ch, secondary DNB or fellowship programme.
In 2017, the state government had made it mandatory for PG students from government-run medical colleges to serve three years in its health facilities after completing their course.
The JDA argued that the academics of doctors who compete in the entrance examination for higher superspecialty courses would be interrupted and it would become difficult for them to complete the course if the government were to attach them with its health facility for three years, as mandated in their bond. They also demanded provision of maternity leave during the three-year mandatory service period.
The first batch of PG students, after introduction of bond for such medical students will graduate this year.
The association also sought to assure the government that doctors who completed their higher superspecialty courses would come back to the state to complete the three-year service condition in their bond.
Among the JDA’s 10-point charter of demands, is one to allow doctors who complete their PG course to work as senior resident (SR) or tutor at least for one year. Subsequently, they could be attached with any government health facility, like the district or sub-divisional hospital or the community health centre (CHC), for the remaining two-year period. This, it said, would make them eligible for applying as assistant professors, as per the norms of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
It also demanded that posting of doctors who complete PG courses be done on merit-cum-choice basis.
In case of default of bond, the doctors demanded that the government should not take back the remuneration paid to them during their PG course.
“We have also demanded that the penalty of Rs 25 lakh be recovered per defaulted year — Rs 9 lakh for one-year default, Rs 16 lakh for two years and full Rs 25 lakh for three years of default,” said Dr Harendra Kumar, president JDA-Bihar.
The junior doctors also demanded that the incentive of one-month basic salary to doctors and healthcare workers on Covid-19 duty, as announced by the state government, besides Rs 50 lakh life insurance cover by the Central government, be also extended to them.
The JDA also requested the government to allow treatment of non-Covid-19 patients at the Nalanda Medical College Hospital in Patna, the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College Hospital, Gaya, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital, Bhagalpur — all of which have been designated as dedicated Covid-19 hospitals. Not allowing non-Covid patients was hampering the training of PG students, said the letter.
Bihar’s Covid-19 tally stands at 1,17,671.
There are around 600 PG medicos in six of the nine state government medical colleges, which have PG curriculum in Bihar, said Dr Kumar.