Resident doctors of at least 14 prominent central and state-run hospitals have decided to go on strike in a when the city is struggling to contain the swine flu crisis.
"The resident doctors of hospitals including Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia and Lok Nayak will be on strike on Friday to press for demands such as better security, availability of life saving drugs and policy for regularizing ad-hoc employees," said, Dr. Balvinder Singh, president of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association of Delhi.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said he had held a meeting with the resident doctors. "I have assured them that all demands will be met. Also, we will write to Delhi Police and the LG for enhancing security in hospitals," he said.
However, the doctors' association said the government had given them no action plan on the issue. "We had submitted a list of 17 key issues that needed to be addressed urgently on February 12 itself. On Thursday, we gave a notice to go on strike after which a senior health ministry held a meeting. But he failed to give any concrete action plan on how to address them," Dr. Balvinder Singh said.
Demanding better security, resident doctors of Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB), the biggest hospital in east Delhi, have been on strike for the past three days. "On Sunday, the relatives of a patient had manhandled a resident doctor, triggering protests and finally a strike," said Dr Amar Shekhar, the vice-president GTB Resident Doctors' Association.
Incidents of manhandling and molestation of doctors are common, alleged the doctors. "There is always a scarcity of life-saving drugs and surgical consumables. When we tell this to the patient's family, they attack us. Also, only one attendant should be allowed per patient to prevent chaos," said a resident doctor at Lady Hard Medical College.
The medical superintendent of various hospitals in the city fear that the strike would hit health services. "There is a huge rush of patients due to swine flu and consultants cannot handle all cases. The government will have to step in since the demands are for all hospitals and not any one in particular," said one of them.