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Junior doctors in Bihar’s government-run medical colleges go on strike, demand change in reservation policy

The junior doctors are demanding that graduates of AIIMS-PATNA be excluded from the benefit of 50% reservation in PG courses for doctors from medical institutions within Bihar.

patna Updated: Apr 09, 2019 11:38 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
junior doctors strike in bihar,junior doctors strike in bihar govt medical colleges,bihar news
Junior doctors demonstrate during strike at Patna Medical College & Hospital in Patna, Bihar, on Monday April 8,2019.(Santosh Kumar / HT Photo)

Junior doctors across government-run medical colleges of Bihar went on an indefinite strike from Monday, crippling health services. They are demanding changes in reservation policy for post-graduate students from medical institutions in the state.

The medicos are demanding that graduates of AIIMS-PATNA be excluded from the benefit of 50% reservation in PG courses for doctors from medical institutions within Bihar.

Explaining the logic behind the demand, president of the junior doctors’ association (JDA) at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), Dr Vikash Kumar, said that MBBS pass-outs from AIIMS-PATNA were already eligible to 50% reservation in PG seats at AIIMS across the country. Extending to them the benefit of Bihar quota would make them eligible to avail of double reservation, which was flawed, he added.

“The JDA-Bihar is demanding that doctors from AIIMS-PATNA not be given the benefit of reservation in PG seats, applicable to those qualifying from medical institutions within Bihar. For this, we want the state government to amend clause 6.1 in its prospectus for post-graduate medical seats,” said Dr Kumar.

Citing government’s reservation policy, the Patna high court had last year allowed doctors from AIIMS-PATNA to apply for PG seats under Bihar quota.

Of the 389 PG medical seats available in Bihar, 84 seats went vacant last year because as many doctors could not qualify through the national eligibility-cum-entrance test (NEET), said top sources in the health department.

Of the 84 vacant seats, 76 were in three private medical colleges and remaining eight in government-run institutions of Bihar.

Only seven doctors from AIIMS-PATNA had applied for the 389 PG seats in Bihar. Of this, only three — two at the Patna Medical College Hospital and one at the Nalanda Medical College Hospital, both in Patna —took admission for PG courses in government-run institutions of Bihar.

“We are unable to fill up the limited number of PG seats we have in Bihar. With 11 new medical colleges to come up (in addition to nine already functional in government sector, and one at Madhepura yet to come up), the biggest challenge for us will be to arrange for faculties. It is imperative we at least begin by filling up all PG seats available with us,” said Bihar’s principal secretary, health, Sanjay Kumar.

He further reasoned, “Should Bihar not be entitled to have the best of medical students study in the state? So, what is the harm if students from AIIMS-PATNA, who qualify the undergraduate course through a tough competitive exam, apply under the ‘insider quota’ for admission to PG courses in Bihar?” he asked.

“Our effort should be to have quality doctors. Just because the AIIMS-Patna does not have quota for Bihar students should not mean that we deprive their students from the benefit of studying in the state,” added Kumar.

The strike by junior doctors had crippled health-care services, pinching poor patients, at many medical colleges of Bihar.

Emergency and outdoor services have been affected at the Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH). Its superintendent Dr Chandra Shekhar said, “The junior doctors had reneged on their promise and paralysed emergency services as well at our hospital. There was no OPD registration today against an average daily outpatient department (OPD) footfall of 2500-3000. We have got 10 doctors on deputation from the district against our requirement for 40. We are trying to manage through them.”

At Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), healthcare services were marginally better with 2700 patients registering at the OPD on Monday against an average daily footfall of 3500-4000, said its superintendent Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad.

“Fourteen planned surgeries had to be deferred because of the strike. We performed 10 major and 17 minor surgeries against a combined average daily 60-70 surgeries at the PMCH, said Dr VK Gupta, professor and head, department of anaesthesiology.

In order to tide over the crisis, Patna’s civil surgeon had sent 22 doctors on deputation to the PMCH against its demand for 50.

“We have given duty in clinical departments to tutors and assistant professors of non-clinical and paraclinical departments. We have also drafted MBBS interns for duty in the emergency,” said Dr Prasad.

It was virtual shutdown at the Darbhanga Medical College Hospital (DMCH) in Darbhanga district.

“There was a total black out of OPD and emergency services. No surgeries could be performed because of the strike on Monday,” said deputy superintendent Dr Baleshwar Sagar, who was officiating as superintendent in absence of Dr Raj Ranjan Prasad on Monday.

MBBS students also abstained from classes at the PMCH, NMCH and the DMCH.

There was little impact of the strike at the Sri Krishna Medical College (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur. “Healthcare services were disrupted for a maximum 90 minutes in the morning after which the MBBS interns resumed work. We have very less PG seats — a combined 10 — in medicine, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and preventive social medicine. As such, the impact of the strike was minimal,” said its superintendent Dr Sunil Kumar Shahi.

Medical superintendent of the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College (ANMMCH), Gaya, Dr Vijay Krishna, also claimed that the strike had no impact on hospital services. The ANMMCH has 10 PG seats — six in obstetrics and gynaecology and two each in anatomy and pharmacology.

The agitating medicos are also demanding that the cap on upper age ceiling for senior residents be raised from 37 years to 45 years, as in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh

First Published: Apr 09, 2019 11:38 IST