Resident doctors in Karnataka, who are overburdened with the surge of COVID-19 cases, are up in arms against the state and Union governments, who they have accused of failing to recruit adequate doctors, one year into the pandemic. They pointed out that the administration was instead depending upon postgraduate students and interns to handle the COVID-19 crisis.
"The state administration is clearly at fault. One year into the pandemic, no discussion of new recruitment of human resources. No discussion of newer infrastructure. They are snatching away beds for non-COVID-19 patients, instead of creating more COVID-19 beds," Dr L Dayananda Sagar, President, Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors, said in a statement.
Postgraduate students also complain that the government is using them as cheap labour and being on COVID-19 duty deprives them of medical experience in treating other ailments, unrelated to the pandemic. Worrying that they would not be able to pick up the skills that they had to learn in the course across various fields of medicine, they also alleged out that the government had not made much progress in meeting their demands.
"They (authorities) are stuck where they were last year, or even worse.They hike beds in hospitals where postgraduate students are working, to use us as cheap labour. We have been demanding for seven months, and not a single penny is being paid as COVID-19 allowance. We are risking our lives and losing careers, still they do not have basic courtesy. Just their fake and hollow speeches prevail," he added.
Postgraduate doctors also hit out at the Union government for postponing the National Eligibility cum Entrance test (NEET) for postgraduate students, which was scheduled to be held on April 18. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan made the announcement on Thursday after students feared that the exam centres could act as spreading grounds for the coronavirus. However, resident doctors argued against the move, and said that the country was in need of more doctors.
Taking to Twitter, Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors said, "When the country is in dire need of doctors, postponing the exams was totally unnecessary. When you can conduct political rallies without physical distancing and masks, why not exams too, with proper precautions."