3,681 docs put in papers, will work till October 14

If govt does not agree, we will form an alternative health system

3,681 docs put in papers, will work till October 14

WE QUIT: Doctors protest with their resignation letters, demanding that the government increase their pay, at Anand Rao Circle in Bangalore on Tuesday. The doctors later handed over the letters to the head of the Karnataka State Doctors’ Association. DH photo

Over 3,500 doctors from Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) submitted their resignation to the Health and Family Welfare director Dr Usha Vasunkar on Tuesday.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had earlier appealed to the doctors not to resign, and wait till October 4 for a discussion.

KGMOA treasurer Dr Shylakumar said that as doctors from all the districts had already assembled at the Health directorate office, they would go ahead with the submission of resignation en masse. The resignations were collected district-wise, and were handed over to the director of the Health Department.

“We have received 3,681 resignations from 117 taluks and 32 district hospitals. In the health directorate, 37 out of 40 officials including joint directors, additional directors and deputy directors have given their resignation. Our director Dr Vasunkar will resign after October 4,” said KGMOA president Dr H N Ravindra.
He added that the doctors will carry on with their work during the notice period till October 14, after which they will stop reporting to work.
“If the Government does not agree to our demands, we will form an alternate health system,” he said.

Apart from rural and urban Government doctors, 45 doctors deputed at BBMP and about 40 district and state programme officers from KSAPS (Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society) have also given their resignations.
KGMOA, which had set a deadline of September 29 for submitting resignations if the Government failed to meet their demands, believed that the Government’s recent pay hike package and inclusion of doctors on contract basis met only 20 per cent of their demands. Officials of KGMOA said that all doctors would report on Wednesday and treat patients till October 14.

“We have asked one duty officer to be present at all district hospitals to attend to emergency cases. They will give their resignations on Wednesday.
The Government has to decide on its course of action. If attractive salaries are given, not only will all the vacancies in rural hospitals and centres be filled, but the health care system in the State will also improve,” said Dr Ravindra.
He said that as health care was an essential service, salaries should be made uniform all over the country. Citing one of the examples of disparity in healthcare, one of the KGMOA members said that a new dialysis unit was lying unused in Bijapur as there was not a single physician to handle the machines.

Even the Karnataka State Junior Doctors’ Association (KSJDA) has extended their support to KGMOA. According to Dr Mahesh Kumar, joint secretary of KSJDA, a meeting will be held in two or three days to decide on future plan of action.
As for her own resignation, Dr Vasunkar, director, Department of Health and Family Welfare, said, “I am just accepting resignations. Being a part of the Government, I can't give my resignation at this point in time.” The letters will be forwarded to the Commissioner of the health department.

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