24 April 2017 | Last updated 12:27 PM


 
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Strike cripples med services
Namrata Devikar | Monday, 20 March 2017 AT 11:35 PM IST
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Resident doctors across State on indefinite leave to protest against assaults by patients’ relatives.

Pune/Mumbai: The waiting lines of patients at general hospitals across the State doubled as around 4,500 resident doctors went on indefinite casual leave on Monday. This step was taken by the resident doctors in the State to protest against the recent assaults by relatives of patients on resident doctors in Dhule and at Sion hospital in Mumbai. Speaking about the condition, Resident Doctor Dr Parag Narkhede from Mumbai said that in the last week alone, there have been six assaults on doctors.

“Since January, there have been eight assaults in the State. Last year, the number was 35. The resident doctors will not resume work until the government assures us proper security measures. Unless the government gives us full assurance and ensures proper security, we will not resume work,” said Dr Narkhede.

Due to the staff crunch, many patients are facing problems. Sukhada Damdade, a relative of a pregnant woman who was referred to Sassoon Hospital, was told that there was no doctor available.“However, sometime later a senior doctor arranged for another doctor and the delivery was done at 11.30 am on Monday,” said Damdade. The Sassoon General Hospital alone witnesses around 2,000 OPDs in a day. However, on Monday till 12 pm, over 1,900 patients visited the hospital for OPD with nearly half the daily staff, said officials at the hospital.

The staff crunch added to the woes. Authorities at the hospital barely managed their staff to cater to emergencies and patients. When contacted, Dr Ajay Chandanwale, Dean of the BJ Government Medical College (BJMC) said a team of 30 to 40 doctors from the pre-clinical staff and para-medical staff was deployed to mitigate the staff crunch. >>Contd on P2; More on P5

“In addition to the 145 doctors, we are using other staff members to handle the inflow of patients. We have postponed the pre-planned surgeries and only emergency surgeries are done. The hospital authority is also trying to speak to the resident doctors to call off the indefinite casual leave,” said Dr Chandanwale.

He said there are 115 security guards at the hospital to ensure security to all doctors and patients. “We have also enforced pass system for only two family members and strict visitor hours will be followed now on from 5 pm to 7 pm. We request the patients to cooperate with us in this,” said Dr Chandanwale.

He said private hospitals do not face such problems as the security measures are strict there. “The pass system is  strictly followed at private hospitals. We intend to do the same here. However, we have so far faced a lot of problems. But through more awareness, we expect to keep the situation under control,” he said.

State Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan said, “We are holding negotiations with MARD members. There has been a substantial financial allocation in the State budget for infrastructure development.”

“We are keen on increasing the number of doctors (in government hospitals) as well and have taken steps toward it. We need some time so that the changes can be felt,” he said.

Meanwhile, social activist Afak Mandaviya on Monday approached the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the resident doctors across the State to call off their protest and report to work immediately. The petition also sought a direction to the State government to look into the issue and take necessary action.

 
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