Published: 13th December 2021
Medical services go haywire in Kerala as house surgeons join protesting junior doctors, demanding NEET-PG counselling
With only senior doctors left to tend to the patients, many were stranded or were forced to return without treatment
The agitation against delay in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Postgraduate (NEET PG) counselling has been turned up a notch in Kerala as house surgeons have also joined in and are boycotting services at the state's medical colleges and hospitals. Junior doctors across the country are protesting against the continuous delays this year in a fresh batch of PG doctors joining the departments, causing a staff shortage of about 45,000 doctors country-wide.
The strike has hit normal services across the state and the out-patient wings in all medical colleges were overcrowded. With only senior doctors left to tend to the patients, many were stranded or were forced to return without treatment.
Sources say that only emergency surgeries are being conducted, while scheduled surgeries for Monday, December 13, have been postponed.
The junior residents have been on protesting in the state for the past four days demanding immediate admissions for the first-year postgraduate course, appointing non-academic junior residents and hiking the monthly pay. With the house surgeons also joining the protest, things have gone haywire.
"We have decided to join the strike for a day as we feel their demands are genuine. Today, we have decided to attend to only COVID-related work. We have been called by Health Minister Veena George for a discussion, which we will attend. We also have grievances and want our stipend to be restored. Let us see what's the outcome of the talks," said a protesting house surgeon. The state's health minister, on the other hand, has been speaking tough against the protest of the junior doctors and has ruled out any talks with them.
"I came for consultation from about 120 kilometers away and have been waiting to take an OP ticket from 5:30 am. It was around 8:30 am that I got it. There are hardly any doctors, unlike the normal days," said a patient who came for a consultation and had to join the wait.
The NEET-PG counselling has been put on hold until the Supreme Court passes its verdict in a case filed against the centre's OBC and EWS reservations in the All-India Quota. The next hearing on the matter is on January 6, after the centre asked for four weeks' time to review eligibility criteria for EWS certification.
Edited by Juveria Tabassum
with inputs from IANS