Doctors' strike takes a toll on healthcare

Doctors' strike takes a toll on healthcare

Patients bore the brunt of the doctors strike in various government hospitals on Monday.  Most of the government doctors from across the State had gathered at Freedom Park in Bangalore to stage a protest, leaving the patients waiting at various City hospitals helpless. While emergency services remained mostly unaffected, specialised care was not available to the ailing. 

It was an endless wait for Mangala Gowri on a bench at KC General Hospital. The woman was with her one-year-old child, not sure if any doctor would attend to her husband who had to undergo hernia operation.

“We are here since 9 am. I was told that there is some protest happening but did not know that the wait would be this long. By noon, we were informed that the operation that was scheduled for today will only be performed a week later,” she said. 

Senior citizens and children were not spared the agony either. Sixty-five-year-old Danamma, a resident of Srirampura was sent back after a two-hour wait. Her cousin who accompanied her said, “We are told that the doctors are on strike. We have no choice but to go back now.” According to sources in the hospital, just eight out of 50 doctors reported for duty on Monday. 

It was a similar situation at many other major hospitals in the City that are run by the Department of Health and Family Welfare. At K R Puram General Hospital, just three out of nine doctors rendered services. At least 300 patients were treated as out patients at the Hospital. Even as parts of the State were worse hit, the City hospitals were better off, thanks to the medical college hospitals. 

While in most places patients were sent back home untreated, in a few other cases, they were referred to Medical College Hospitals. Patients who came to Government HSIS Gousia hospital were referred to Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital. 

The Hospital that sees at least 100 out patients daily, could only cater to 10 patients on Monday with just two doctors working.

Doctors working under National Health Mission were also summoned by the officials of health department to render their services at various hospitals. 

The situation remained near normal at Jayanagar General Hospital as all the 48 doctors reported for duty. However, sources in the Hospital told Deccan Herald that the doctors did participate in the protest for a short while but reported for duty thereafter.   

At a meeting convened in Vidhana Soudha, Chief minister Siddaramiah said that the government was open to talks with the striking doctors. “Even I am willing to meet them and discuss the issue,” he added.

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