Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Thursday warned the protesting post-graduate medical students to call of their protest, otherwise, they will have to face tough action. However, the protesters said they will boycott emergency services from Friday. George said a protest at the time when the Covid pandemic is continuing to cause havoc, will throw the health system out of order.
"We have held two rounds of talks with the PG medical students. One of their demands is that the admissions to the first year PG courses should be completed early. In this issue the state government is helpless as it is before the apex court. Another issue they raised was recruitment of non-academic junior residents, to which we have assured that it will be taken up. We have done all this, but still a section is not cooperating," she said.
But the protesting doctors spoke equally tough and said they have been airing their grievances for a long time but things have not moved as the government is doing nothing.
"We have been working nonstop in the past 18 months... at the moment there is a shortage of around 700 doctors and despite assurances, no appointments are being made. Moreover, we have been demanding a pay hike for long and nothing has happened on that front too, and hence we have no other option but to step up our protests," said a protesting doctor.
This development comes at a time when the doctors attached to the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association have launched an indefinite 'standing' strike in front of the State Secretariat since Wednesday to demand pay revision.