Madhya Pradesh doctors on strike to support Venugopal

INDIA NEWS, JULY 7, 2006
Bhopal – Medical services at district hospitals in Madhya Pradesh were hit Friday as junior doctors went on a day-long strike to protest the move to sack P. Venugopal as director of the New Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Major state-run hospitals in Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Rewa saw their patient care crippled as the doctors struck work urging political parties to ‘keep the health services away from politics’. Emergency services, however, remained unaffected.
The governing body of the AIIMS had passed a resolution Wednesday recommending the central government to remove Venugopal from the post. The move followed a public spat between the renowned heart specialist and Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss.
Resident doctors at the country’s premier healthcare institute had proceeded on a flash strike the same day, while those from three other Delhi-based hospitals were expected to join them Friday.
Junior doctors who stopped attending to patients early morning staged a demonstration protesting against Ramadoss and threatened to step up their agitation if the government accepted the recommendation to sack Venugopal.
‘No junior doctor is attending work in any departments including operation theatres and out-patient departments’, Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors Association president Hemant Verma said.
A delegation of junior doctors submitted a memorandum to Gandhi Medical College (GMC) dean Nirbhay Shrivastava saying that the one-day strike was called in tandem with the medical associations across the country and it could turn into an indefinite one if Venugopal was removed.
The Madhya Pradesh chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also condemned the move to sack the AIIMS director.
The strike in Madhya Pradesh left patients and their relatives running helter-skelter.
At the Government Hamidia Hospital here, patients who had come from nearby towns and villages had a harrowing time, as no doctors were not available in any ward or the out patient department.
‘I arrived here this morning with my sister who is suffering from acute gastroenteritis but there are no doctors. Where should I go now?’ asked Pradeep Kumar, who had come from the industrial township of Mandideep, 25 km from here.

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