Increased allocation of financial resources for providing health care in the public hospitals. This is required for uninterrupted full supply of life saving medicines and instruments required for life saving procedures in the peripheral and district hospitals throughout the state. Currently there is a huge shortage of these items.
Resident doctors in public hospitals in the state of Maharashtra are fighting to secure their just demands. On March 25, 2011 nearly 4,000 resident doctors working in the public hospitals all over Maharashtra went on a one day strike. The doctors are organized under the banner of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD). The Lok Raj Sangathan, and the Kamgar Ekta Chalwal have launched a campaign to ensure active support for their struggle from railways workers, airline workers, mill workers, municipal workers, postal employees, university teachers, as well as other working people. Workers and working people cutting across different sectors of the economy are coming forward to express their solidarity with the Resident Doctors.
The demands put forward by MARD are
- Increased allocation of financial resources for providing health care in the public hospitals. This is required for uninterrupted full supply of life saving medicines and instruments required for life saving procedures in the peripheral and district hospitals throughout the state. Currently there is a huge shortage of these items.
- Provision of Security to Medical Staff: due to inadequate facilities in the hospitals the lives of the patients are jeopardized and the relatives of the patients in anger sometimes attack the medical staff on duty. There have been several such cases in the recent past.
- Reverse the drastic fee hike for graduate and undergraduate medical students. An increase of 250% in fees from Rs 18,000 at present to Rs 45,000 is unjustified and will prevent those from the economically weaker sections from taking up medical education. These fees are much higher than those prevalent elsewhere in the country.
- Regulate the duty hours of the resident doctors who are currently on call 24×7 and in many cases have to work for more than 24 hours at a stretch.
- There should be a health policy for the resident doctors who due to continuous exposure to sick patients are themselves prone to take ill and there have been cases of deaths of resident doctors while on duty.
- Maternity leave for female Resident doctors as per the rules applicable to state Government employees.
The strike followed many attempts by the resident doctors to engage the authorities in a dialogue over these demands. The doctors were forced to strike because the authorities refused to have discussions with them. It was only after the strike took place that the authorities called them for talks. At the meeting with the authorities on 29th of March, the doctors were told that since the Budget session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly is currently going on, the Government would discuss their problems after April 8th, 2011.
However, already the State Health Minister has announced that the fees would not be reduced. This has greatly angered the doctors.
The demands of the resident doctors are entirely just. MEL condemns the anti doctor and anti people attitude of the authorities. MEL hails the initiative of Lok Raj Sangathan and various other workers organizations in actively organizing support for the Resident Doctors amongst the broad masses of working people.