Uncertainty, Chaos Grip Patients as Protesting Doctors Boycott Duty at Delhi Hospitals
11:50 GMT 29.12.2021 (Updated: 10:41 GMT 19.07.2022)
Since 27 November, resident doctors have been protesting to point out that the delay in new admissions to medical colleges has increased the workload in hospitals.
Patients across government hospitals in Delhi were left in the lurch on Tuesday, 28 December, after resident doctors started boycotting all medical services, including in emergency wards, to protest the police detention
and manhandling of several medical professionals on Monday evening during a march.
"I was supposed to get admitted today for my stone surgery to be held tomorrow. But today, the hospital guards told us that senior doctors are not working and I should come next week or later", Mamata, a 26-year-old woman, who was accompanied by her mother, told Sputnik on Tuesday, 28 December.
"It had taken us 14 months to fix the date for surgery", Mamata's mother said while sharing that non-emergency wards had been shut down during the first and second COVID induced lockdowns, due to which the surgery was so delayed.
Ramesh Chand, who came from the outskirts of Delhi to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, told Sputnik that he has been visiting the hospital for five days to show his father's report to the Oncology Department: "My father has cancer in the stomach. He's 62 years old. They don't have a single doctor to examine my father's report. What can we do
? Shall we also protest?"
"We don't have enough money to show him to a private hospital. If the strike continues for the next few weeks, who will be answerable for my father's health?", Chand added.
What Pushed Doctors to Boycott Their Duties?
According to Indian media reports, both central government and state-run hospitals in Delhi decided to boycott non-emergency services and held protests against the Delhi Police for the use of brutal force used against them during a protest.
Medical services by junior doctors resumed around noon on Tuesday in a few departments, officials at Delhi's two biggest hospitals - the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) - told Sputnik.
At the multi-specialty Safdarjung Hospital, patients were seen complaining about doctors being unavailable.
On Monday, over 2,500 resident doctors were reportedly detained at the Sarojini Nagar Police Station in Delhi while marching towards federal Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya's residence. Many of them were dragged by law enforcement and thrashed in the street.
The Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA), which is leading the doctors' protest, in a statement described the police brutality of Monday as a "Black Day in the history of the medical fraternity".
Responding to FORDA's call, the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) has announced a nationwide withdrawal from all healthcare services from Wednesday (29 December) if the government fails to come up with concrete solutions to the doctors' demands.
Why are Doctors Protesting?
The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Postgraduate) (NEET-PG) exam which was scheduled for December 2020, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The exam was held in September 2021. But counselling for admissions, which was slated to start on 25 October for entry to medical colleges, was delayed, which sparked the protest.
Counselling has been delayed due to an ongoing case in the Supreme Court of India, challenging reservations for economically weaker sections (EWS) in the nationwide quota scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses
Resident doctors at the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association launched their protests, pointing out that the delay in new admissions to medical colleges has increased the workload in hospitals.