Published: 30th June 2022
Telangana's Senior Resident doctors to boycott emergency duties from tomorrow, July 1 over non-payment of stipends
The protesters claimed that the Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital, Mahabubnagar Government Medical Hospital and the IMH are the institutions where stipends have not been released since November 2021
Senior Resident (SR) doctors in Telangana boycotted their duties to join a strike at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) at Erragadda today, June 30. They are demanding that their stipends be paid and regularised. They said that the stipend has not been paid to many of them since November last year and for some, it has been three or four months that they haven't received their stipends.
Today’s strike was organised by the Senior Resident Doctors’ Association of Telangana at 12 noon, and started after the doctors’ protest at their respective workplaces. The IMH protest comes after a similar strike was carried out by these doctors on June 29, when they boycotted their elective out-patient duties.
“The strikes are going on for senior resident doctors. After they were posted in various places across Telangana since November last year, their stipend of Rs 80,000 per month has not been paid. It has been about eight months now, and the stipend amounts to Rs 6,40,000. Many of these doctors are married and have dependents to take care of. If the government does not release the stipends, how will they be able to take care of their families?” said Dr Karthik Nagula, a member of the Senior Resident Doctors’ Association of Telangana.
The protesters claimed that the Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital, Mahabubnagar Government Medical Hospital and the Institute of Mental Health are the institutions where stipends for SRs have not been released since November 2021.
In other government hospitals, including those under the Osmania Medical College and the Gandhi Hospital have not received their stipends from the last four to five months.“There is no regularisation of stipends. In most hospitals in Telangana, the senior residents have not received their stipends for the last four to five months. For the hospitals in Hyderabad it has been four months that the SRs have not been paid,” Dr Karthik informed.
“The senior doctors joined their duties in May 2021. At that time their SR exams were not conducted. But it was the peak COVID period, so the government asked them to join as resident doctors and even said that they would be paid as per the government’s stipend rate for senior doctors. For PG doctors, the stipend is Rs 56,000 and for SRs it is Rs 80,000,” Dr Karthik stated.
“The government said that it would not conduct the SR exam. It would rather extend the date of the exam because there was a scarcity of doctors when it came to COVID-19 duties, and if the exams were conducted, doctors would be busy with it and won’t be able to join the COVID duties. The exams were conducted on July 25, 2021, and then there was a two-month gap till the results were announced. The Rs 80,000 stipend was paid for the months of June and July, but not for May. And there is no clarity about the completion of this exam, even though the senior doctors were posted across Telangana and joined their duties from November 1,” he explained.
“We are expecting the government to pay the stipend for the two-month gap. We understand it is not to be. But they should pay for the month of May as they promised, and give clarity on the situation. The stipends have not been properly distributed. So, the SRs have resorted to strikes," Dr Karthik said further.
The senior resident doctors said that they have been taking the issue to the government’s notice from time to time, but nothing has been done about it yet. “It is nothing new, and is a long-pending issue. We have suggested the government to fix a date and give us the stipend so that we can plan our expenses accordingly. Multiple representations have been sent to the authorities but no solution has been given till now,” Dr Karthik said.
“The hospital superintendent asks us to approach the DME (Directorate of Medical Education) and the DME states that they do not have any funds, and asks us to approach the Finance Minister. Meanwhile, the matter has been brought to the notice of the state’s Health Minister, who has said that they would look into the issue and regularise the stipends, but nothing has been done yet,” he stated.
They had stated that they will boycott emergency duties from July 1 if they don't hear from the DME.
The Association has written letters to T Harish Rao, Telangana’s Health Minister, and to the Director of Medical Education, Telangana regarding the matter. Dr M Rajeev, a senior resident at the Osmania General Hospital said “It is a complex issue”.
Dr Rajeev added, “A similar problem is being faced by the PG doctors as well. We have not received our stipends for the last four to five months. The Junior PG batch which joined in February-March this year hasn’t been paid. We have been requesting the Health Ministry and Education Department, but there hasn’t been any update. We are not protesting or organising any strike as yet”.