Patients in Himachal suffer as doctors strike

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IANS: Patient care in over 700 government hospitals and dispensaries in Himachal Pradesh was again hit on Friday as more than 3,000 doctors went on strike for two hours.

However, emergency services worked in the state’s major hospitals.

The strike followed the Himachal Pradesh Medical Officers Association’s call for mass casual leave for a day on January 23 over its demands, including safety of doctors and pay parity.

Patients at the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla and the Rajendra Prasad Medical College at Tanda town in Kangra district were worst hit as even resident doctors joined the strike.

Association president J.N. Chauhan said they had already given a notice to the government over their strike.

“We met the Chief Minister recently and apprised him about demands. The government doesn’t seem to be positive towards our demands. We have no option but to continue with the protest,” he said.

Chauhan said the doctors would continue till February 12 and if the demands were not met, they would again go on a mass casual leave.

The association has claimed that a doctor after facing humiliation from politically connected people in a hospital in Una suffered a heart attack.

Congress legislator Bambar Thakur is also accused of misbehaving with a government doctor last December over issuing a differently-abled certificate.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Kaul Singh said the government was bringing a bill in the ensuing budget session to ensure safety of the doctors.

“We are going to make assault on the doctors on duty a non-bailable offence,” he told IANS.