Delhi doctors' demands accepted but strike to continue

New Delhi: Resident doctors in Delhi's government hospitals on Monday decided to continue their strike even as their demands for proper security, accommodation and adequate availability of generic drugs in hospitals were accepted by the Arvind Kejriwal government.

The strike, which began earlier on Monday and severely affected functioning in the 25 government hospitals in the capital, was the second protest by the resident doctors in the past six months.

The doctors had worn black badges in February for a few days seeking better working conditions.

The Delhi government on Monday evening issued a statement saying it had accepted all 19 demands of the resident doctors.

The resident doctors were on strike under the banner of the Federation Of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), an association of 25 Delhi-based government hospitals run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Delhi government and the central government.

A resident doctor said that even if they were convinced by the sincerity of the Delhi government's promise to improve their working environment, they have to wait till the union health ministry intervenes and pays heed to the problem.

"Only the Delhi government has accepted our demands but our association also has members working in hospitals run by the central government and the municipal corporation.

"We want that the demands are accepted by others also," a senior resident doctor, who works in Safadarjung Hospital, told IANS.

With about 20,000 resident doctors on strike, medical services were badly hit.

Intervening in the matter, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal directed the health officials to implement the demands of resident doctors, calling them "genuine problems".

An official said shortage of doctors led to treatment of only 10 percent of patients in the Out Patients Departments (OPDs).

"It was not possible to deal with all the patients with resident doctors on strike. Senior doctors treated emergency cases and other patients needing immediate attention," an official of the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital told IANS.

A resident doctor said Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain assured them better working conditions in February but no follow-up steps were taken.

A series of incidents in the beginning of this year had led to doctors to demand better security and working conditions.

An incident of physical assault on a doctor by the kin of a patient took place at Safdarjung Hospital. A similar incident occurred at the Delhi government-run Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital.

The striking doctors complained that pickpockets and thieves roamed unchecked within hospital premises, stealing patients' belongings and cash.

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