Health services returned to normal in the capital Thursday, a day after resident doctors called off their 20-day anti-quota strike, bringing much needed relief to thousands of patients.
Large numbers of patients queued up Thursday morning at the out patient departments (OPDs) of all major government-run hospitals that had been virtually under a state of siege for the past three weeks.
'I have been in Delhi for the last three days to get my son admitted to AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). With doctors returning to work, I feel much relieved,' said Anuj Yadav from Bihar.
'I don't know about the reason for the strike or why they called it off, but it certainly is great news for poor people like me,' Yadav told IANS.
Hundreds of resident doctors of five medical colleges here had been protesting since May 12 against the government's plans to reserve 27 percent seats for other backward classes (OBCs) in institutes of higher education. They called off their strike Wednesday evening after the Supreme Court threatened them they would be charged with contempt of court that could entail imprisonment if they did not return to work.
Rakesh, who had to return Wednesday due to the closure of OPDs both at AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital, was happy after receiving treatment Thursday.
'Within half an hour of my arrival at Safdarjung, doctors at OPD attended on me. It's a great respite for patients to see doctors back at work,' Rakesh, who is nursing a broken arm, added.
Hundreds of patients come to the capital for treatment from neighbouring states likes Uttar Pradesh and even Bihar and far away northeastern states where medical services are rudimentary.
Senior doctors confessed that the return of the resident doctors had given them reason to cheer, even though they did not support caste-based reservations.
'Certainly it's a great relief for patients and the entire healthcare system of the capital,' said N.K. Chturvedi, medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here.
'Resident doctors are the backbone of any medical college and their return is great news for patients,' said K.K. Handa, general secretary of the AIIMS faculty association.
Source: IANS News