Madhya Pradesh Doctors’ Demand for Better Pay, Security Draws Support From Medical Community
Doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi marched on Sunday in support of the ongoing junior doctors’ protest in Madhya Pradesh. The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) and the Delhi Resident Doctors’ Association expressed their solidarity with the Madhya Pradesh doctors’ demands for a 24% stipend hike, better security, as well as medical safeguards for themselves and their families in case they contract Covid19.
“We want better security; many times, we get beaten up. If we or our families get infected, there are no beds for us,” a protesting member of the Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors’ Association told NDTV.
The demands came from 3,000 junior doctors across six medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh last week. The doctors resigned en masse on Thursday after the Madhya Pradesh High Court called their strike “illegal.” In addition to a stipend hike and free medical treatment for themselves and for family members, the junior doctors are demanding security in the workplace to protect against violence by attendants and family members of patients, according to Live Law.
The court directed the doctors to immediately resume their duties, and rebuked them for choosing to strike at a moment when the health crisis was at its peak. The court also ordered the state government to take “strict action” against them if they failed to resume their duties. However, the doctors refused to call off the strike and sent in their resignations before any action was taken.
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The unrest comes in the wake of recent events — related to poor pay, amenities, and harassment — that provoked discontent among the medical fraternity. On June 1, doctors observed a nationwide “black day” in response to Ramdev’s comments against allopathic Covid19 treatment and vaccines. There has also been outrage in the medical community over an incident in Guwahati last week, where family members of a patient who succumbed to the virus violently assaulted a doctor. Similar instances have been observed across states, where doctors have been physically assaulted by family members or relatives.
The current strike by Madhya Pradesh’s junior doctors, which began on May 31, was in response to the Madhya Pradesh government raising the doctors’ stipend by 6% as opposed to the original demand of 24%. Following the resignation, the government increased their pay by 17%. The doctors have, however, stated that they will continue their protest until their exact demands are met.
“The government has promised to raise the stipend by 24% and till they raise it to that limit, the strike will continue,” Dr. Arvind Meena, president of the Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors’ Association (JUDA), told India Today. The Association also stated that they would soon approach the Supreme Court over the issue.
The support for the junior doctors has grown in the national capital. AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association has warned of a nationwide strike if the Madhya Pradesh government does not meet the demands of the protesting doctors within 24 hours — by today.