Services at Delhi's 3 Centre-run hospitals hit as resident docs' work boycott enters 2nd day

Patient care at Delhi's Centre-run Ram Manohar Lohia, Safdarjung and Lady Hardinge hospitals were hit as resident doctors boycotted all routine and emergency services for the second consecutive day

Resident doctors stage protest
Resident doctors stage protest


Patient care at Delhi's Centre-run Ram Manohar Lohia, Safdarjung and Lady Hardinge hospitals were hit as resident doctors boycotted all routine and emergency services for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as part of a nationwide protest over the delay in NEET-PG 2021 counselling.

The protest was called by the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association.

AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) said its members will wear black ribbons at work in support of the support the cause of the overburdened resident doctors of the country and against the delay in NEET-PG counselling.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to ensure that post-graduate admissions are done on a war footing.

General Secretary of Safdarjung Hospital RDA Dr Anuj Aggarwal said, "We are continuing with the protest because of no concrete action by the Union Health Ministry."

The resident doctors have been waiting patiently for some positive outcomes of the Supreme Court proceedings in the matter. However, there seems no respite to the physical and mental distress, said Dr Sunil Duchania, the president of RDA at Lady Hardinge Medical College.

"As withdrawal from OPD and all routine services didn't bring any concrete response from the authorities, the resident doctors have withdrawn from all services (routine as well as emergency) from December 6 in support of the nationwide protest called by FORDA," Dr Sunil Duchania said.

The Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF), in a statement, said the delay in PG admissions have left them "overworked" and the patients that they treat "underserved".

"Those PG students from current batches who survived their peers in the aftermath of the pandemic have not only suffered immense personal losses but have also lost nearly two years of post-graduate learning which a resident doctor is supposed to acquire during their two to three years of training," it said.

"PMSF will not tolerate any punitive action against resident doctors just for protesting which is their democratic right. PMSF stands resolute with the protesting residents and demands that NEET-PG counselling is conducted immediately."

It also demanded a sincere effort to streamline and strengthen the NEET-PG admission process so that the scenario is not repeated.

The AIIMS RDA said the delay in NEET-PG counselling is depriving Indian citizens of services of around 42,000 doctors who would have otherwise joined at least six months ago.

"Several hospitals are functioning with just two-third capacity of their total resident doctors' strength, compromising with the quality of patient care. As cases of the new variant of coronavirus are increasing exponentially globally, it is prudent that our nation should be prepared for another wave of the pandemic," it said.

The RDA requested the Supreme Court and the Health Ministry to hasten the process of NEET-PG 2021 counselling in public and the nation's interest.

The IMA on Monday expressed concern over the manpower shortage in healthcare amid detection of cases of Omicron variant, and said it is "disastrous to note the postponement of NEET-PG admission in medical colleges".

"This will result in a shortage of almost two batches of postgraduates, one appearing for the exam and one waiting for admission. This will result in nearly one lakh young resident doctors not being available to tackle the crisis.

"IMA demands the Government of India get proactively involved in this issue and ensure that the PG admission is done on a war footing. It will be too late if we postpone the PG admission to tackle the Covid crisis," the doctors' body said.

As the resident doctors boycotted work, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya met the resident doctors and a FORDA delegation at the RML hospital on Monday.

According to FORDA members, the minister and said he will get the case mentioned in the Supreme Court for an early hearing and appealed to the doctors to call off their protest, but the resident doctors refused.

The Director-General of Health Services visited the Safdarjung Hospital on Monday where he appealed to the resident doctors to call off the protest.

In a letter to Mandaviya on December 4, the FORDA had said healthcare institutions across the country are running short of an adequate workforce of resident doctors with no admission in the current academic year yet.

"With the possibility of a COVID-19 wave looming large, the situation will be disastrous for the healthcare sector with its bearing on the country's population," it said.

"There seems to be no initiative or measure taken yet for expediting the (NEET-PG) counselling. Therefore, following discussions with various RDA representatives of Delhi, we have decided to escalate our agitation further and withdraw all services (routine and emergency) in healthcare institutions from Monday," the letter read.

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