In a new turn of events in the ongoing strike of resident doctors of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, the state authorities on Thursday revoked termination and suspension order of all doctors barring association president Dr Irfan Qayoom and vice-president Dr Faizan Younus Shah.
For the third straight day the patient care continued to suffer as the resident doctors of all associated hospitals of the GMC went on with their strike. Following a series of meetings between the authorities and the striking doctors, the GMC withdrew the order of termination, suspension or repatriation of 36 doctors. However, the suspension orders of Dr Qayoom and Dr Faizan were not revoked.
Through the order the government had also decided to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) in an attempt to deal with the striking doctors.
The principal GMC Srinagar, Prof Samia Rashid said she had been directed to revoke the termination order of the doctors issued yesterday "barring two doctors for whom the order had been upheld".
"They (residents) had meetings with secretary health and they had agreed to call off the strike, provided the termination order is revoked," she said.
However, the Resident Doctors' Association (RDA), after issuance of the revocation of suspension order announced that the strike would continue until "each and every suspension and termination order is revoked by the GMC administration".
In a media briefing, the RDA members said that the doctors would resume work in emergencies and intensive care units of associated hospitals if the order 206 is revoked in toto.
Dr Qayoom said that the decision to resume work in emergencies and critical care areas had been taken by RDA to "prevent further inconvenience to patients".
Dr Qayoom said that the doctors of the association are reluctant to resume work till order 206 is revoked in toto, following which work in emergencies and intensive care units of associated hospitals will be resumed. "However, routine work will only be resumed when our original demands are met," Dr Qayoom said.
Meanwhile, outpatient and inpatient services remained badly affected in all the six associated hospitals today. Although, a duty roster for consultants, interns, house job doctors and faculty had been put in place in all hospitals, most patients were diverted to SKIMS, JLNM hospital and SKIMS medical college hospital.
General and emergency wards of the GMC hospitals wore a deserted look while the patients were seen lying on the floor in other Srinagar hospitals.
Medical superintendent SMHS Hospital, Dr Saleem Tak said that routine surgeries at the hospital had been cancelled and in view of the staff shortage, admissions of only emergency cases were made. "We are keeping the OPDs open but work is surely suffering here," he said.
Medical superintendent Bone and Joint Hospital, primarily a trauma hospital, said that only trauma cases were being accepted. "It is unfortunate that residents went on strike when we are reeling under flood threat. But we are managing with our existing staff to cater to semi emergencies and emergencies," he said.
At Lal Ded Hospital, the lone tertiary care maternity hospital, emergency deliveries and caesarean sections were carried out, but antenatal, prenatal and other consultation services were withdrawn in view of the strike.
Meanwhile, GMC also conducted walk-in interviews for posts of residents today. "We recruited over 30 residents today, who joined immediately," a GMC official said.