Kerala Government Medical Officers Association calls off strike

Doctors to co-operate with evening OP; govt to withdraw suspension.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) called off its four-day-old strike on Monday after the government took a tough stand against the agitating doctors. The decision to withdraw the strike was taken after a marathon discussion between the health minister K.K. Shailaja and office bearers of the KGMOA. The doctors agreed to cooperate with the evening OP in family health centres and extended their full support to the Ardram Mission.

The health minister agreed to withdraw the suspension of doctor and assured that three doctors would be posted in each family health centres which have evening OP. The minister expressed strong resentment against the manner in which the doctors had called the lightening strike putting poor patients to great inconvenience. She warned the KGAMOA against resorting to such lightening strikes in future. The four-day strike had badly affected the health care services in 1200 odd health institutions including primary health centres, family health centres, community health centres, district, general and taluk hospitals across the state.

The KGMOA decided to go on lightening strike after one of their colleagues working in Palakkad was placed under suspension for failing to report for evening OP. Earlier, the KGMOA leaders held discussions with chief minister’s private secretary M.V. Jayarjan at the secretariat and expressed their willingness to work in evening OP provided more doctors are posted. The association office bearers gave it in writing that they were willing to hold talks. Prior to meeting the Chief Minister’s private secretary, the KGMOA office bearers had sought an appointment with health minister. But the minister stuck to her earlier position that talks will be held only if doctors called off their strike.

The government’s tough position coupled with the growing public anger, forced the KGMOA to soften its stand. The government had warned the doctors, especially those who are on probation, of stringent action if they continue to remain on strike. The government directed health service director to furnish the list of doctors who are on unauthorised absence by noon. Ms Shailaja stated categorically that there was no question of winding up evening OPs in family health centres or stopping Ardram Mission. The minister said the government is exploring the possibility of recruiting docs who are on PSC list to provide succour to the patients.

Health minister said Cabinet had directed the doctors to call off their strike immediately. The strike is totally unjustified and it being totally opposed by the people. “There is a norm for calling a strike. Even trade unions give sufficient notice before strike. But the doctors, despite discharging essential services, had announced lightening strike putting poor patients to great inconvenience. There was just a phone call from a doctor. I told them not to go ahead with the strike and the government was ready for talks. But they chose to strike work,” he added.

The minister said that the government was committed to implement Ardram Mission which is set to transform the health care sector significantly. “People have welcomed the family health centres started under the Mission and the extension of OP till evening. Earlier there used to be just one or two doctors in PHCs. But the government had taken steps to deploy at least three doctors, four nursing staff and put in place laboratory facilities in family health centres,” she added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story