Gujarat: 450 doctors on strike over non-payment of COVID-19 allowance
At least 450 intern doctors of three civil hospitals attached to medical colleges run by Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS), which is a Gujarat government-controlled entity, in the Sola area of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, and Valsad, went on an indefinite strike on Thursday. The agitating doctors claimed that they had not been paid the "COVID-19 allowance" promised by the government. Here is more.
Intern doctors were to get Rs. 5,000 monthly COVID-19 allowance
After completing the MBBS course, medical students are required to undertake internships at hospitals before they are granted permission to start their own practice. According to students, the state government had in April announced that intern doctors of government and GMERS-run medical colleges will get Rs. 5,000 as monthly COVID-19 allowance besides their stipend for the months of March till June for COVID-19 duty.
'Interns of GMERS-run colleges haven't been given the allowance'
One of the interns said, "While interns of the government-run colleges have received the promised COVID-19 allowance, intern doctors of GMERS-run colleges were not given the sum." "Although we made a representation to the authorities several times in the past, there was no positive response. Hence, 450 intern doctors of these three colleges have decided to go on an indefinite strike," the intern added.
Deputy CM assured that the issue will be resolved soon
Meanwhile, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who handles the health portfolio, assured that the issue will be resolved soon. In a warning tone, Patel asked the striking doctors to join duty and show some "concern" for patients.
Students should be thankful to the government: Patel
"These students must be thankful to the government for arranging their internship at government hospitals and also giving them allowances. It's the government that showed a big heart, not intern doctors. In private medical colleges, students have to pay from their pockets to do an internship," he claimed. "They have to complete their internship even if we do not give any allowance," he added.
Last month, 3,000 junior doctors in MP also staged protest
Notably, last month, nearly 3,000 junior doctors in Madhya Pradesh had also staged protests and strike over the non-fulfillment of their demands by the state government, despite being promised. The state government later agreed to their demands including a 17% increase in the stipend.