Junior resident physicians and interns across Karnataka boycotted out-patient department (OPD) and all elective treatments beginning at 9 a.m. on October 7, demanding prompt and regular payment of stipend and COVID-19 risk allowance.
Namratha C., president of Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD), said emergency services, ICUs, and COVID-19 services were not hampered by the strike. “All junior resident doctors assembled in their respective colleges for a symbolic protest. However, all those on emergency duty continued with their regular duties,” she said.
All post-graduate doctors and interns at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) assembled in front of the new OPD complex. The younger residents sought urgent resolution of their concerns, holding banners and chanting slogans. According to Dr. Namratha, around 5,000 young physicians from Karnataka participated in the strike.
“It has been months since the COVID-19 allowance was announced but it is yet to reach us. Umpteen representations were made to the government and administration in the past one year to waive off fees for the year 2021-22 since the past academic year was spent solely on COVID-19 care with close to nil academics and clinical exposure in our chosen specialties. However, there is no response. Instead, the fee has been hiked,” she said.
“We demand that the government restructure the academic fees according to the 2018-19 academic year and immediately sanction funds for COVID-19 risk allowance. Apart from this, we also demand timely payment of stipend to junior resident doctors and interns,” she said.
“As the Minister concerned and officials are out of town, we have submitted a memorandum in the office of the Director of Medical Education (DME). We are trying to meet the Minister in the evening,” she added.