The decision was taken during a meeting of the Council of Ministers of MP headed by Chief Minister Dr Mohan Yadav.
Health services in government hospitals all over Madhya Pradesh were gravely paralysed on Wednesday, as nearly 15,000 government doctors began their indefinite strike in support of their long-pending demands.
The doctors accused the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP state government in the state of being insensitive and indifferent to their genuine demands.
Terming the strike ‘unethical’, Chouhan said there was a provision to take action against the doctors who strike from work. He exhorted the doctors, who are held in the highest esteem by patients, not not play with their lives.
As a consequence of the doctors’ strike, more than 30 major surgeries had to be postponed at Bhopal’s Hamidia Hospital, which is the largest government hospital in MP. Patients and their relatives were seen frantically searching for doctors in the hospital’s Out Patient Department (OPD), which was also shut down due to the strike.
The protesting doctors stayed away from all types of medical duties, emergency duties, educational lectures in medical colleges, administrative work and medico-legal services.
In the wake of the strike call, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan held a review meeting and conducted a video conferencing with senior officers of all districts late night yesterday. The CM directed the officials to ensure necessary alternative arrangements so that proper and timely treatment could be provided to patients in all government hospitals.
Subsequently, the district administration authorities in the state capital Bhopal and all other districts made efforts for arrangements with private hospitals and reserved beds there so that patients from government hospitals could be shifted to private hospitals.
Bhopal Commissioner Maal Singh Bhaydiya and Collector Ashish Singh reached the Hamidia Hospital in the morning along with a team of officers to oversee the alternative arrangements made for the assistance of patients.
Ashish Singh said 150 doctors from private hospitals have been engaged to serve in the OPD and wards, while 1500 beds have been reserved in private hospitals for patients requiring to be shifted for critical care.
State Medical Education Director John Kingsley said the government doctors and interns who are undergoing post-graduate studies while being in government service have been pressed into service in view of the doctors’ strike. He said doctors from private hospitals have also been engaged to treat patients in government hospitals and serious patients requiring critical care would be shifted to private nursing homes and medical colleges.
The government doctors’ federation chief convener Dr Rakesh Malviya averred that the doctors have been forced to go on strike due to the BJP state government’s apathetic attitude towards the government doctors.
Dr Malviya claimed that at a meeting on 31 March this year between government doctors’ representatives and the state government officers and ministers, a consensus had been reached and the government had assured to fulfill the demands. He charged that despite giving its accord, the state government has not issued any orders for implementing the demands till date.
Dr Malviya also said that on the directives of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, a high-level committee was constituted on 17 February this year to pave the way for implementing the Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DAP) scheme for government doctors in MP. He said the committee, headed by the Additional Chief Secretaries of the Health Department and Medical Education Department, had given its consent to implement the DACP for the benefit of government doctors of MP, but till date no such orders have been issued.
DACP is the main demand, amongst many others, of the striking doctors. The other demands include rectification of disparities in the rules of working of the health department, medical education department and ESI.
Doctors have also been protesting against the appointment and interference of administrative officers in medical departments.
Another demand is to reserve seats in the state government health service for contractual MBBS doctors working with the National Health Mission (NHM).
The junior doctors have been demanding reduction in the bond amount towards rural service and decreasing the tuition fee in the medical colleges.