Thiruvananthapuram: The indefinite strike of health services doctors hit patient care services badly across the state on Friday. Patients who came to government hospitals had a harrowing time. Since the strike was called late on Thursday night, most people were caught unawares. Many patients who lined up in front of OP wings had to wait indefinitely for getting treatment. At several places the patients lashed out at the doctors for bringing health services to a halt.
About 4000 government doctors owing allegiance to Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) in 1300 health department institutions are on strike to protest against the extension of OP hours and suspension of one of the doctors in Palakkad . Barring casualty services, most of the health care service services were affected due to the strike. The worst affected were those who came to outpatient wings.
A majority of the patients belong tothe poor section who cannot afford health care services in private hospitals, bank on the goveremnt hospitals including primary health centres, community health centres, general, taluk and district hospitals. “I have unbearable pain in the leg. I require a tablet urgently. But there is no one to treat us here,” said an old lady at the general hospital here. Despite coming to know about the doctors strike, patients waited for three to four hours with the hope of getting some treatment. Later some additional arrangements were made to cater to the patients.
The doctors held the government squarely responsible for the strike. “They are converting PHCs into Family Health Cetnres one after the other everyday. After rushing through the inauguration they are posting doctors on temporary basis and putting additional burden on the existing staff. The health minister is not ready concede our demand for more staff,” said a KGMOA officer bearer. The patient care activities will be further affected from Monday with the doctors deciding to boycott inpatient services....