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Doctors boycott work for 2 hrs in Kerala govt hospitals, services at pvt hospitals also hit

(Eds: Updating with quotes) Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 17 (PTI) Healthcare services were affected across Kerala as doctors of state-run hospitals boycotted work for two hours on Monday and those in private facilities participated in a 24-hour nationwide strike being observed in support of protests by the medical fraternity in West Bengal.Long queues near outpatient departments (OPDs) were seen in several government hospitals across the state. Some patients said they didn't know about the strike and have been waiting for hours."We left our homes at 3 am and do not know if the doctors will attend on us," a patient at the government hospital here said.A woman said she had come with her relative suffering from breathing problems early this morning and no doctors had attended her till 10 am.Another patient said she arrived at the hospital around 5 am to meet her doctor with her blood test reports. "If I can't meet the doctor today, I will have to get the tests done again," she said.IMA State Secretary Dr Sulphi N said, "While in government hospitals, doctors boycotted OPDs from 8 am to 10 am, the strike was total in the nearly 1,000 private hospitals and clinics in the state, as doctors are participating in the 24-hour strike and attending only emergency cases."At least 10,000 medical students also participated in the strike, he told PTI. Dental clinics under the Indian Dental Association also took part in the stir.Kerala Government Medical Officer's Association (KGMOA) and the Kerala Government Medical College Teachers Association (KGMCTA) were among the organisations which participated in the protests.The Indian Medical Association (IMA) members staged a dharna in front of the Raj Bhavan here for two hours from 10 am demanding a central law for protection of the life of doctors and hospital property. They also raised slogans against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.Junior doctors in West Bengal are on strike since June 11 after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.In a show of solidarity, medical practitioners across the country have chose not to work, leaving patients in the lurch. PTI UD SS NSDNSD