Hospitals in Delhi suffer as resident doctors vow to continue strike; talks with Mansukh Mandaviya fail

Medical services in New Delhi, which were disrupted on Tuesday, will continue to suffer as resident doctors have stated that they will keep ...

Medical services in New Delhi, which were disrupted on Tuesday, will continue to suffer as resident doctors have stated that they will keep their agitation on till their demands are met.

Resident doctors in Delhi have been protesting over the delay in NEET-PG 2021 counselling for the past 12 days.

The decision to continue the strike came as the meeting between Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA) and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya at Nirman Bhawan failed to make any headway.

So, here’s what happened on Tuesday.

Doctors’ stir intensifies

After their clash with the police on Monday evening during which the resident doctors alleged they were lathi-charged, resident doctors belonging to FORDA gathered in large numbers on the premises of Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital, even as police personnel were deployed to ensure law and order is maintained.

Doctors raised slogans like 'We want justice', and sought to bolster the morale of each other, after the face-off with the police on Monday went all the way to midnight, as dramatic scenes were witnessed at the Sarojini Nagar police station.

Patient care remained affected at three Centre-run facilities — Safdarjung, RML and Lady Hardinge hospitals and some other Delhi government-run hospitals too.

Doctors stage a protest outside Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi. PTI

According to an IANS report, the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital, which has been the epicenter of the ongoing stir, witnessed chaos as the OPD counters remained shut. The doctors protested outside the emergency ward and all emergency services were obstructed. Even the ambulance services have been disrupted by the agitating doctors.

Delhi's Chacha Nehru Children Hospital was also badly affected as the protesting doctors closed the main doors to stop the patients from visiting the hospital.

The doctors at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital also stopped the OPD and other medical services for sometime. However, after a brief suspension, the OPD services at Safdarjung Hospital resumed with senior doctors and consultants attending to the patients.

Meanwhile, the resident doctors' association of AIIMS has also withdrawn all non-emergency work from Tuesday if no steps are taken by the government against the violence faced by doctors during their protest on Monday.

Meet fails

Amid the protests, a FORDA delegation met Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya at Nirman Bhawan.

Mandaviya had earlier urged the doctors to call off their strike in the larger public interest.

Addressing the media after the meeting with a delegation of FORDA, Mandaviya said the government is unable to go ahead with the counselling as the matter is sub judice and being heard by the Supreme Court.

The health minister said the government is taking all requisite steps and a suitable reply with respect to the EWS report will be submitted to apex court before the next date of hearing on 6 January. “We request the court to expedite the issue so that the counselling can be started at the earliest,” he added.

Mandaviya then urged the protesting resident doctors who he said tirelessly served the nation during the coronavirus pandemic to call off their days-long agitation in public interest.

However, the doctors' body said, the "response was not satisfactory" and they would continue their stir.

What next?

An ANI report said the doctors have proposed three demands, including a written apology, to end the stir.
"First, we want the authorities concerned to ensure that we get a date for counselling right after the Supreme Court's hearing on 6 January. Secondly, we want an apology from the authorities as the police manhandled the doctors. Also, all FIRs registered against protesters would have to be withdrawn."

Meanwhile, doctors from Hindu Rao and Kasturba hospitals have decided to lend their support to the protesting resident doctors and withdraw their services with immediate effect.

The resident doctors’ association has written a letter to the Hindu Rao Hospital medical superintendent, stating that resident doctors and interns have decided to withdraw all services, including emergency, to register their protest against violence allegedly meted out to resident doctors who were marching peacefully to the Supreme Court.

“We resident doctors are under great stress due to the delay,” Tanuraj Tyagi, the president of the resident doctors’ association of Hindu Rao was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. Kasturba hospital resident doctors’ association president Sunil Kumar, had too written a similar letter stating withdrawal from all services, including emergency.

Additionally, the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) has also called for a complete withdrawal from all healthcare services across the country from 8 am on 29 December “in protest against brute force by Delhi Police against doctors.”

In a statement, the FAIMA said, "This is to inform that the medical fraternity stands absolutely shocked at the sheer display of unprovoked brute force by Delhi police on our colleague who have been peacefully protesting in Delhi and many other states since the last month, with their genuine demand for the immediate declaration of NEET PG 2021 counselling schedule. However the lathicharge on our resident doctors and manhandling of many female residents by the male police personnel during their peaceful demonstration is a pathetic display of the shameless attitude of the authorities, who we could believe would stoop so low."

However, AIIMS Delhi Resident Doctors Association (RDA) said it would not go ahead with its planned strike on Wednesday following the meeting with the Union minister. In an official release, the RDA said, "In a meeting with the Union Health Minister assured the resident doctors of holding NEET PG 2021 counselling at the earliest."

With inputs from agencies

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