Telangana junior doctors launch strike demanding timely stipend disbursement

Dr CH G Sai Sri Harsha, T-JUDA President recalled that previous representations to the health minister and the deputy chief minister had not yielded results and that the doctors were forced to call for a strike
T-JUDA on strike at RIMS, Adilabad.
T-JUDA on strike at RIMS, Adilabad. (Pic: RIMS)

In a fight for their long-pending demands, Telangana junior doctors began an indefinite strike today, Monday, June 24, 2024.

According to The New Indian Express, around 6,000 junior doctors from 26 medical colleges across Telangana will participate in the indefinite strike alleging the state government's inertness on their long-pending demands such as green channel for timely disbursement of stipends to junior doctors, house surgeons and others.

Due to their strike, the junior doctors will be boycotting outpatient (OP) services, elective surgeries and ward duties. The strike by junior doctors began today and is scheduled from 9 am to 4 pm, with sloganeering during OP hours (9 am to 12 pm).

On June 18, the Telangana Junior Doctors Association (T-JUDA) submitted a letter to the director of medical education (DME), listing their demands and intimating the DME about a strike from today, June 24, in case the authorities failed to take tangible action. In response to the doctors’ demands, the finance department on Saturday, June 22, issued orders to the DME to release funds worth Rs 123.32 crore for 2024–25.

However, the doctors said that allocating an annual budget was not enough and that the funds should also be released to them on time. They noted that similar amounts had been sanctioned every quarter earlier as well but there were delays in disbursing the stipends.

Additionally, the Telangana Junior Doctors Association (T-JUDA) also wanted contractual assistant positions with a salary of Rs 1,25,000 for doctors who have completed super-specialty courses.

Speaking to TNIE, Dr CH G Sai Sri Harsha, T-JUDA president, said, “The finance department should clear all obstacles in releasing stipends to resident doctors by creating a green channel. It should also issue a circular stating stipends will be credited before the 10th of every month to all junior doctors.”

Further, Dr Harsha recalled that previous representations to the health minister and the deputy chief minister had not yielded results and that the doctors were forced to call a strike.

Plan B for patients

The strike would put pressure on outpatient and other services in government medical colleges. Dr B Nagendar, superintendent of Osmania General Hospital told TNIE that while junior doctors were going on elective work strike, they would still be on emergency duty.

“Faculty members will look after operation theatres, ward rooms and OP. We have instructed the HoDs (Head if Departments) of all departments to arrange for faculty members to ensure health services are not affected,” he said.

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