16000 Doctors Protesting For Five Days In Tamil Nadu: Government Hospitals Paralysed
The doctors affiliated to Federation of Government Doctors Association went on an indefinite strike on Friday, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu(TN). The strike enters its fifth day on Tuesday, October 29 leaving the predicament of state-run hospitals in limbo.
Around 16000 doctors put out a makeshift place in front of the hospitals to get their demands heard. For the past two years, the doctors are demanding implementation of Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP), a scheme which will ensure salaries at pay band 4, which is also the salary bracket for government medical officers.
Five doctors went on a hunger strike against the delayed implementation of the DACP. Dr Rama S, a senior assistant surgeon and one of the five doctors on a hunger strike told The News Minute, “We have been protesting since July to get the Tamil Nadu government to listen to our problems. On August 27, we launched a state-wide token strike. This is when the TN government asked us to defer the strike and formed a committee to consider our demands. They requested six weeks time to get back to us. We gave them this time, but they still have not responded.”
According to Dr Rama, the state health secretary had personally requested six weeks time to take action on the demands of the doctors. After the end of six weeks, they sought a few more days due to the bye-elections.
Four Demands Of Doctors
Implementation of DACP – One of the primary demands raised was the implementation DACP which places the doctors at band 4.
Currently, doctors stand at pay band 3, where a salary hike is given at the end of a specific term. With the implementation of the scheme, doctors will be paid and given hikes according to pay band 4. As per the scheme, doctors would receive promotions in their 4th, 9th and 13th year of service.
Higher Pay Scale – The doctors demand higher pay scale as they alleged that TN provides the best and the cheapest health care all across the nation while the doctors in the state are being underpaid.
Service quota – The service quota in the government hospitals has been brought down as around 90 per cent of the super-specialist doctors are not from Tamil Nadu. This is resulting in the undercut in the state health care system. The doctors fear that in a few years, there will be a deficit of Tamilian doctors in the state-run hospitals.
Appointment of doctors – Government should appoint doctors taking into consideration the number of inpatients and outpatients rather than considering the number of students
The doctors also threatened the TN government that they would stop providing emergency services as well that includes treating dengue which is on the high rise in the state. The doctors said that the government would bear the repercussions of such travesty.