GMC resident doctors end strike ‘partially’

After striking the work for four days, resident doctors at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar on Friday evening announced to resume duties in emergencies and critical care areas of the associated hospitals while the government made reinstatement of terminated and suspended doctors conditional to their joining back.
GMC resident doctors end strike ‘partially’
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After striking the work for four days, resident doctors at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar on Friday evening announced to resume duties in emergencies and critical care areas of the associated hospitals while the government made reinstatement of terminated and suspended doctors conditional to their joining back.

The government today issues directions to the GMC authorities to revoke suspension, termination and repatriation orders of resident doctors only if they call of the ongoing strike completely.  

At least 36 resident doctors and demonstrators of the GMC were affected by the order issued on Wednesday, which was revoked a day later, with exclusion of two doctors. These two medicos are president and vice president of Resident Doctors Association, Dr Irfan Qayoom and Dr Faizan Yousuf, respectively. The association had called for the indefinite strike that started on July 03. After exclusion of the two doctors from the revocation order, doctors had refused to call off the strike on Thursday. 

But today a communication from health and medical education department to Principal GMC stated that Dr Qayoom and Dr Yousuf would be reinstated "on the condition that all striking doctors resume their duties immediately."

Speaking about the amendment of the revocation order, principal/secretary health and medical education, Dr Pawan Kotwal said, "We made the revocation order conditional today, since the doctors neither respected the assurances government had extended, nor the word they had given before we revoked the order". 

Stating that the doctors had been reinstated on Thursday after they had assured the government to resume work in all hospitals immediately, Kotwal said the decision to make revocation of order conditional had been taken on "basis of assessment of situation and feedback from senior faculty members of GMC". 

"We want to be sure that doctors would resume their work in the larger interest of patient care," he said.

The department has sought a report from the principal GMC about status of the strike before issuing any further orders. Shortly after receiving the communication the principal GMC issued a letter to doctors instructing them to report to their duties 'immediately".

Later the RDA announced to resume work in critical care and emergency areas of the hospital from Friday evening. "In the interest of patient care, we have decided to report back to work in some areas, but the strike will continue in OPDs and IPDs," president RDA said.

Meanwhile the tertiary level health care continues to suffer in Kashmir. Although, the OPD services were made partially functional at the associated hospitals, doctors continued to make "guarded" admissions due to non availability of junior doctors. 

Most hospital wards were empty as all routine surgeries and procedures were cancelled. A senior doctor at SMHS Hospital said that the doctors, in consultation with the administrators had made a "conscious decision" to admit only emergency cases. 

At SKIMS medical college hospital, Bemina and SKIMS Soura, patient load forced the hospital administration to line the hospital corridors with beds and stretchers. 

At Bemina hospital, against a normal load of 1800 patients, 3500 patients were seen on Friday, hospital administration said. "Our OPDs have more than doubled in the past few days, and our maternity load has also increased drastically," the medical superintendent (MS) of the hospital said. 

At SKIMS, MS Dr Farooq A Jan said although the load had necessitated cancellation of routine operations, but the hospital was "managing" for now. "If the strike continues (at GMC), we may have to think of cancelling routine surgeries and cater to only emergencies," he said.

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