Resident doctors at several government hospitals across Karnataka were on strike to agitate their demands on the hike in stipend given to them by the government. They boycotted emergency services at the government hospitals.
The strike entered the second day at the government-run autonomous Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Science (VIMS) in Bellari. Due to the indefinite strike of junior doctors, the health services were affected at the hospital.
To combat this the post graduate students were deputed to attend to the casualties at the hospital and senior doctors attended to the out patients. Thus the services were not affected severely at VIMS.
"Though the work-load has increased with the Resident Doctors abstaining from attending to their duties, we have somehow been managing to attend to patients coming to the hospital," said a senior doctor.
Similarly at the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) Hospital in Hubballi, the services were affected very severely as the doctors and junior nurses on contract basis boycotted the services. They took out a candle-light march from the KIMS premises and covered a few main roads of holding placards seeking stipend revision.
Even in the Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences (BIMS), more than 36 postgraduate doctors and 80 House Surgeons were on strike. The junior doctors served to the public by working for 80 to 100 hours or more each week without even a weekly off.
According to them, their stipends were very low compared to the amount paid to their counterparts in many other States, and also in consideration of the work extracted from them.
Their demand is to increase their monthly stipend from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 for House Surgeons, Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 40,000 for PG/MD/MS/Diploma students and Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 for super-speciality doctors.
Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) spokesman, Mahantesh Y.D, said, "Though the cost of living has escalated since the last revision of the stipend in 2011, the government is yet to bridge the gap considering prevailing inflation rates. Our counterparts in other States receive much higher remuneration." The association is also demanding Dearness Allowance at par with other government employees.