Hyderabad Gandhi Hospital doctors withdraw strike after assurances

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Over 300 junior resident doctors of Hyderabad’s Gandhi Hospital, the designated facility for treating Covid-19 patients, on Friday withdrew their agitation and resumed their duties following discussions with state health minister Eatala Rajender.

“Keeping public health into consideration, especially in view of the pandemic we are fighting, and trusting the minister’s reassuring words, our association has decided to call off the strike conditionally,” Telangana Junior Doctors Association president Lohith Reddy, said.

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The junior doctors had been on strike since Tuesday night after one of their colleagues was assaulted by relatives of a deceased Covid-19 patient with an iron stool and stand, holding him responsible for the death.

The minister, who held two rounds of talks with the agitating doctors, assured to take up their demands with chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and see that they are resolved.

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The association representatives asked the government to resume the treatment of non-Covid-19 patients at the Gandhi Hospital, a super-speciality offering free treatment for a variety of acute and chronic diseases, to help the poor patients.

The minister said it would be done after discussion in the state cabinet meeting. He said the cabinet would also look into the demand for management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and symptomatic Covid positive cases in a decentralized manner.

He added that adequate provision has been made for treating Covid cases in district hospitals and private medical colleges, which should result in better patient care.

The other demands made by the doctors including recruitment of medical staff to fill the shortage, provisioning for 30% reserve staff, deployment of special protection force in all government medical colleges and hospitals, will also be placed before the cabinet, he said.

He also assured that doctors and paramedical staff will be given adequate and quality personal protection equipment (PPE) and the association will test the quality of the kits before a supply order is placed.

The doctors’ association president added that a committee formed by the association will follow up on promises made by the minister.

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