Chennai: The government doctors' strike in the state was called off on Friday by representatives of the Federation of Government Doctors Association(FOGDA). Following this, the government revoked all disciplinary action, including break-in-service, initiated against the protesting doctors.
Representatives of FOGDA who have been spearheading the doctors' protest in the state for the past one week informed that the decision came after assurances from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. “ We rejoined work today morning,”. confirmed Dr Perumal Pillai, one of the FOGDA representatives.
It has also been learnt that the doctors from FOGDA met with Beela Rajesh, health secretary on Friday and are scheduled to meet health minister Dr C. Vijayabaskar on Monday.
Thanking the doctors for resuming work, the health minister said,” The government will consider the fair demands of the doctors carefully.”
The government doctors in TN have been striking for the past one week demanding implementation of their four-point charter of demands, including time-bound promotion and pay rise. Considering the outbreak of monsoon related illnesses in the state, the doctors’ protest severely affected the public health system in the state. The doctors were also strongly condemned by the directors of Medical Education and Public Health, Dr Narayana Babu and Dr Kolandaiswamy for their ill-timed stir. While the doctors had the backing of several political parties, including DMK, the government came down hard on them, first appealing and then warning them to call off the strike. The government had then initiated stringent action against those who refused to concede and even issued transfer orders to 50 of the protesting doctors.
In a media interaction at Salem on Thursday, the Chief Minister had informed that the government spends Rs 1.24 crore from the taxpayers’ money to create a single doctor, pointing out that the doctor’s graduating from government medical colleges complete their education at just Rs 67,500, as opposed to those from private medical colleges which charge in crores. Reminding the doctors that the government spends a considerable revenue on medical education, ‘only’ with the noble objective of producing doctors who help patients, he had said, “ The government is for the people and it is for them that the state hospitals serve”. In his speech, he had also emphasised that the doctors’ stir has greatly impacted public health, especially poor patients. This further added to the angst of the public, at least the majority of them, who for a long time now have been cynical of the government doctors for the questionable work ethics and
attitude towards patients. The building public rage and negative sentiments against the doctors could be another reason as to why the protest was called off.
Meanwhile, sources indicated that police have filed cases against the doctors who boycotted work under the sections 143, 341 and 290 of the Indian Penal Code as well as under Tamilnadu medicare service persons and medicare service institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act....