Two striking doctors in Tamil Nadu, who were also on an indefinite fast, were hospitalised on Monday after their health deteriorated.
Five doctors have been on indefinite hunger strike since October 25 demanding Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s intervention to fulfil their demands that included an increase in salary and promotions. Among the five, Dr. Suresh Gopal and Dr. Rama were admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai after their pulse rates dropped.
Nearly 15,000 government doctors have been on strike since Friday, which has led to long lines in outpatient wards and slowdown in the admission of inpatients. Since house surgeons also joined the strike on Monday, minor surgeries, non-emergent and elective procedures are being postponed across the state
According to R. Jayanthi, dean of RGGH, the services were not affected as many doctors who had not joined the strike had been reporting for duty.
The striking doctors claimed that many of their colleagues were attending to patients without signing the attendance register, to show support to the agitation. The doctors have announced that they will work extra hours on Tuesday and boycott work for 48 hours on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Federation of Government Doctors Association (FOGDA), which is a collective of five service doctors’ groups, has been on an indefinite strike since Friday seeking positive response to a charter of demands with the following key points: periodic salary raise and promotions; 50 per cent state-wise reservation for PG speciality and super speciality courses; transparent counselling while appointing PG doctors in government service; rectification of all inconsistencies in the government order implementing the staffing pattern to the hospitals.
The state Health Secretary Beela Rajesh invited the striking doctors for talks while assuring those on duty that they would be given adequate protection.
“This is an attempt to create fear psychosis since no doctor on duty has been threatened or intimidated,” said A. Ramalingam, the convenor of FOGDA. “During the last round of talks in September, we had raised the same demands but there was no response from the government after appointing a committee which was to give its recommendations within six weeks. Since that deadline is long past, we want the Chief Minister to meet us and give us an assurance. Till then the strike would continue,” he said.
DMK chief MK Stalin had visited the striking doctors on Monday in Chennai and assured them of his support.