Kerala medical colleges doctors suspend agitation

October 29th, 2009 - 8:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi (Kerala), Oct 29 (IANS) The striking doctors of Kerala medical colleges, faced with divisions within their organisation, Thursday decided to suspend their ongoing strike.
The Kerala Government Medical College Teachers Association (KGMCTA) doctors in the state have been on a work-to-rule agitation to protest the government decision to ban the doctors from conducting private practice.

During their agitation for the past nearly three months, except for a small break in between, they were not allowing paid ward admissions, not attending medical boards and or attending to VIP duties.

Addressing reporters here after a meeting, KGMCTA president Varghese Thomas said though they were suspending the strike, they discontinued to disagree with the government on disallowing the private practice of doctors.

“It has been decided to suspend our strike, taking into consideration the general opinion that the strike should end. We have also requested that private practice be made optional by not giving the non-practicing allowance,” said Thomas.

Trouble erupted within the KGMCTA with the non-clinical section taking a positive stand towards the government’s decision on revision of pay, and the clinical section upset at the government decision to ban private practice.

With a section of the powerful lobby of the clinical section adamant that the strike should not be withdrawn unless the decision on private practice ban is revoked, the normal functioning of the state-run medical colleges came to a standstill since Oct 22, causing hardship to the common people.

Health Minister P.K. Sreemathi welcomed the suspension of strike by the KGMCTA.

The KGMCTA has around 1,900 members, of whom around 600 are non-clinical doctors and of the remaining around 200 doctors have a roaring private practice at their residence.

Divisions surfaced within the five units of the KGMCTA when a majority of the members said they would be forced to withdraw from the agitation if association meeting Thursday did not suspend the stir.

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