Health Minister Veena George told reporters that the demands of the protesting doctors are being met by the government, and urged them to return to work.

Several doctors standing in rows in protest at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical CollegeImage for representation
news Protest Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 09:27

Government medical colleges across Kerala faced a crisis on Monday, December 13, due to the continuing strike of Post Graduate doctors, wherein they raised various demands. The protest, on for the last four days, was against the state government's alleged failure in fulfilling their demands, including restoration of the 4% annual salary hike of resident doctors. House surgeons also joined the strike.

Meanwhile, State Health Minister Veena George urged the doctors to return to work, saying the patients must not suffer. The minister told reporters that the demands of the protesting doctors are being met by the government and the appointment of the non-academic junior resident doctors in medical colleges is on. "The interview for the non-academic junior resident doctors is going on in medical colleges. The state government is taking steps to meet all the demands of the doctors. However, I would like to urge the doctors to not make the patients suffer," minister said.

She said the issue related to the stipend of the doctors and other matters were already being discussed with the Finance Minister. On December 11, the government issued an order to appoint 373 non-academic junior residents in medical colleges. However, the protesting doctors claim that the number was not enough.

The minister said the other demands, including the withdrawal of PG doctors from primary healthcare centres and first-line treatment centres, were already accepted.

The strike affected the functioning of out-patient services. Only emergency surgeries were conducted on Monday. "The doctors are on strike. Half of the patients were turned away and only the emergency and the COVID-19 treatment facility are working fully," a patient who reached the hospital in Thiruvananthapuram from Adoor, almost 100 km away, told reporters.

The situation was no different at the Kalamassery Medical College in Ernakulam district. Huge crowds were reportedly seen and patients alleged that they had to wait hours to meet the doctor. Many departments remained shut today.

Representatives of the house surgeons told the reporters that they have conveyed their demands to the Health Department and would return to work on Tuesday.

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