Medical services across public and private sector hospitals in Kerala have been affected following a nation-wide call by the Indian Medical Association to the medical fraternity to strike work on Monday, in an expression of solidarity with the doctors in West Bengal.
Doctors belonging to all professional associations, dental clinics and private clinics as well as house surgeons, medical post graduates and residents are all staying away from work in deference to the IMA’s call. As a result, all hospital services, except services to the emergency wing, labour rooms and intensive care units, have been affected.
IMA’s demand that hospitals be made safe work places and that a Central Act be enacted for the protection of healthcare professionals seems to have found an echo amongst the entire medical fraternity, across public and private sector, many of whom have, on occasion, faced mob violence at hospitals. This is the first time that the entire medical fraternity in the State is coming together like this to fight for a singular cause.
Though the strike had been announced in advance, the 24-hour strike, which began at 6 a.m. on Monday, threw medical services in hospitals haywire as people had begun to queue up early in anticipation of OP services which normally begin at 8 a.m.
In government hospitals, doctors boycotted OP clinics from 8 a.m. till 10 a.m., while in medical colleges, doctors stayed away from OP clinics for an hour from 10 a.m.
Outpatient services resumed after the boycott; however, all clinics are witnessing heavy crowds as patients had been waiting since early hours .
However, no untoward incidents have been reported so far. People who needed immediate care were taken care of in the casualty department.
Private medical clinics and dental clinics have all cancelled outpatient services on Monday while the government doctors belonging to Health Services have declared that they will not be doing private practice.
In Thiruvananthapuram, doctors under the banner of IMA marched to the Raj Bhavan and organised an hour-long dharna from 10 a.m. They demanded that they be provided a safe work environment.