Around 1,500 resident doctors of various medical colleges in Gujarat went on a day-long strike on Monday to protest against postponement of the NEET-PG counselling, claiming the delay in admission caused an acute shortage of doctors which increased the workload on junior doctors.
Besies, hundreds of professors and lecturers of various government and Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS)-run medical colleges also held protests across the state over their long pending demands, including payment of arrears as per the 7th Pay Commission recommendations.
The Centre recently put on hold the counselling for the NEET-PG 2021 until January next year over some issues and also informed about it to the Supreme Court.
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate (NEET-PG) courses is conducted for fields like the Master of Surgery, and Doctor of Medicine. Counselling is part of the admission process.
"Normally, post-graduates are admitted in May. Now, due to the postponement of counselling, the new batch of PG students will arrive in March next year. Thus, instead of three batches, resident doctors of only two batches are attending all the patients for the last one year. This has increased our workload," a protesting doctor from Surat said.
Another medical student suggested that the government think of employing outside doctors in government-run hospitals, which are affiliated to medical colleges, until the new PG batch arrives.
In a statement, Junior Doctors Association (JDA) of B J Medical College in Ahmedabad claimed all medical colleges in the country were facing an acute shortage of the workforce due to "continuous postponement" of the NEET-PG counselling.
"As a result, in the absence of a new PG batch, only 66 per cent resident doctors are available to attend to patients. This is putting an extra pressure on the resident doctors, who are already suffering due to long COVID-19 duties," JDA president Dr Vishwajeet Raj said.
"Thus, nearly 1,500 resident doctors across the state will stay away from the OPD (out-patient department) work from 9 am to 5 pm on Monday as part of our protest," he said.
Patients will not suffer due to the strike as resident doctors will remain available for emergency duties, he said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of professors and lecturers affiliated to the Gujarat Medical Teachers Association (GMTA) and three other similar bodies in the state gathered outside various medical colleges in the state to register their protest over some of their long pending demands.
"We are not on strike. We will continue our work wearing black bands on our hands as part of our protest. Our key demands are payment of arrears, higher non-practising allowance for teachers as per the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, and hike in the cap on maximum monthly salary," GMTA president Dr Rajnish Patel said.
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