Resident doctors are planning a symbolic protest over the issue on Monday.

Doctors in Bengaluru on COVID dutyPTI : Image for representation
news Health Monday, December 07, 2020 - 08:19

The Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors on Saturday issued a statement urging the Karnataka government to re-start non-COVID facilities at the state-run Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru. The hospital, located at the heart of the city, has functioned as a COVID-19 hospital since the start of the pandemic in March this year, for a period of nine months now.

"Despite a sharp decline in cases there has been no signs of starting non-COVID services soon even after multiple requests to authorities. What will happen to thousands of non-COVID patients who are dependent on Victoria Hospital," a statement by the Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) said. KARD is an organisation working for the rights of post graduate residents, super speciality residents and house surgeons in government colleges. The organisation is planning a symbolic protest over the issue on Monday.

TNM earlier reported in May about how non-COVID-19 patients in Bengaluru were scrambling to avail treatment during the lockdown. With the government’s focus then firmly on containing the spread of coronavirus, people struggling with chronic illnesses faced difficulties to avail treatment in the city. At the time, KC General Hospital was one of two government hospitals along with Jayanagar General Hospital that was handling non-COVID emergencies in the city.

Read: Non-COVID-19 patients in Bengaluru are scrambling to avail treatment amid lockdown

While more hospitals have taken up non-COVID cases in the last few months, Victoria Hospital is still a dedicated COVID-19 hospital in Bengaluru. 

The concern over this stems from students in medical colleges who say that they have been involved in COVID-19 work for nine months now. "For example, those who have signed to study surgery are losing out on our surgical exposure as we are not operating at all. This is a concern that needs to be addressed," a postgraduate student in a government medical college told TNM. 

Students are now urging the state government to exempt their academic fees for the year 2020-21.  "Since the last 9 months the postgraduates, house surgeons and undergraduates have been involved in COVID-related activities. There has been no proper clinical academic activities happening statewide. Hence we urge exempt from academic fees for the year 2020-21," read the statement. The association also called for COVID-19 risk allowance to be given to residents, interns and under-graduate students who worked in COVID-19 hospitals.

According to the state health bulletin published on December 5, there were 1325 COVID-19 cases in Karnataka including 31 deaths of which 19 were classified as "non-COVID causes".

The association also stated that postgraduate students at the Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Orthopaedics and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health have not been paid their revised stipend in six months. 


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