Cracking the whip on striking doctors, Rajasthan govt has arrested over 400 doctors under the essential services act as the stalemate between agitating medicos and authorities continued for the sixth day on Monday.
Non-availability of medical services has claimed around 50 lives. Left unattended, some hospitalised patients have succumbed to their injuries including a 45-year-old Afghan national, hospital sources said on Monday.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “Strict action will be taken against doctors for carrying out such strikes. We don’t want people to suffer. Such strikes create anger amongst people and, therefore, doctors should resume work as soon as possible.”
Rajasthan govt is going to initiate the recruitment process of 1,000 doctors as the doctor’s strike enters sixth consecutive day on Monday while Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has also appealed to the doctors to call off the strike.
Meanwhile, the state government had sacked 10 doctors and two medical officers late on Sunday evening.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot reviewed the situation in the state.
The Chief Minister also directed the health department to authorize private hospitals to treat at approved rates those patients who are suffering due to the strike.
Describing the doctors’ strike as unfortunate, Gehlot said, “The government is making all efforts to keep the situation under control and alternate arrangements have been made in view of the unfortunate strike.”
The medical crisis in the state deepened on Friday after 5,000 medicos , who are on strike demanding pay hike and time-bound promotions, submitted their resignations.
All government doctors working in hospitals, dispensaries, primary health centres and resident doctors of all the six medical colleges in the state have been on strike since 21st December.
Taking up cudgels for the agitating doctors, the Indian Medical Association on Sunday criticised Rajasthan government’s stand over the strike and demanded revocation of Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA) for medical services.
“The government is following a repressive policy which is highly condemnable and it should lift RESMA so that doctors can openly come for talks with the government,” Secretary of IMA Rajasthan S S Agrawal said.
Demanding that doctors arrested under RESMA be freed immediately, Agrawal asked the government to invite the agitators for dialogue to “understand their grievances”.
State health minister Duru Miyan said the government was already in talks with the agitating doctors and expressed hope that a consensus would be arrived at soon.
The government has so far suspended 40 doctors and services of around a dozen government medicos are likely to be terminated soon, official sources said.
To minimise the impact, the government has engaged the services of private hospitals in the state, with many facilities opening their doors for patients admitted to government hospitals.
Army, BSF, railway and private doctors have stepped in at various state government hospitals giving relief to the patients.
Nearly three thousand ayurveda doctors and nurses have also pressed into service.
According to an official, a total of 1,720 beds in private hospitals are now available for government patients.