The seven day long strike of doctors in the state Rajasthan made the health services crippled in government hospitals of Rajasthan .
During the strike around 30 people, including children, have ‘died’ while over 250 major and minor surgeries have been postponed, a senior directorate official said.
The strike has left patients and their relatives at the receiving end, forcing them to visit private hospitals for seasonal diseases and urgent surgeries.
The state government has called in doctors from Army hospitals and also asked private and CGHS hospitals to examine patients free of cost, the official said.
All-Rajasthan In-Serivce Doctors Association president Dr Ajay Choudhary and Health Minister K C Saraf are likely to hold talks later in the day to discuss striking doctors’ 33-point charter of demands.
After a week-long indefinite strike by about 9,000 in-service doctors and 1,000 senior residents, the police have so far arrested 14 striking doctors under the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA).
The doctors were arrested from different districts, including Jaipur, Tonk, Bharatpur, Banswara, Jodhpur and Jaipur, for defying the RESMA, and hundreds of doctors have given in writing that they will report on duty soon, Additional DGP (Law and Order) N R K Reddy said.
The police crackdown was ordered on Saturday after the Medical and Health Department asked the Home Department to ensure the imposition of RESMA on doctors, Reddy said. Apprehending arrests, many leaders of the association have gone underground, he said.
Hearing two PILs filed by one Dr Abhinav Sharma on Saturday, a Division Bench of Justices K S Jhaveri and V K Vyas directed the Health Department to issue individual notices to the striking doctors asking them to “report for duty” immediately and submit a list of striking doctors during the next hearing on November 15. The Bench also directed the government to constitute an expert committee to study the demands of the All-Rajasthan In-Service Doctors’ Association (ARISDA).
Calling mass resignation by the agitating doctors a propaganda, Health Minister K C Saraf said his directorate had received only two packets of “blank papers” from the doctors’ association.
The state government has agreed to meet 19 out of 33 demands, including pay parity with Central government doctors, one shift in OPDs, disastrous allowance, not to post any RAS officer on senior-level administrative posts in directorate and secretariat, and not to bring doctors services in rural areas under the Panchayati Raj institution.