Striking Jharkhand doctors face disciplinary action

December 30th, 2008 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Dec 30 (IANS) The Jharkhand government Tuesday asked junior doctors of a premier medical institute here to end their strike. Else, the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) would be invoked against them.The junior doctors of Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) went on strike Saturday following a clash with the residents of Bariatu locality. The clash broke out after a resident was hit by a doctor’s vehicle. More than 40 people, including doctors, were injured in the clash.

During the three-day strike, media reports say 13 patients died and over 400 deserted RIMS due to absence of treatment. Poor patients were among the worst sufferers. However, the hospital management said no deaths took place after the strike.

Taking a serious view, the state government Monday held a meeting with the RIMS management and threatened to impose ESMA. The act provides for maintenance of certain essential services including public health.

The state health department also cancelled the leave of senior doctors, appointed army doctors in RIMS and shifted doctors from rural areas to the institute.

“The government spends millions of rupees on doctors’ education. There is a ruling of Supreme Court that emergency services should not be stopped. If the striking junior doctors do not return to their duties then the state government may impose ESMA,” Jharkhand Health Minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi said Tuesday.

However, the junior doctors have adopted a tough stand and said that they would not return to their jobs unless local residents who clashed with them were arrested.

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