Stipend Hike: Tamil Nadu Resident Doctors, Interns to hold token strike, boycott services in protest
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu resident doctors and medical interns are planning to protest to raise their voice regarding the low stipend paid to the doctors across the State.
In a recent letter directed to the State Government, the Tamil Nadu Resident Doctors Association (TNRDA) has pointed out that about their upcoming plans of holding a black badge protest on Tuesday, token strike on Wednesday and boycotting of all services in all Government Hospitals in Tamil Nadu on July 15 as an expression of their grief and exasperation at the government for not fulfilling their demands.
Pointing out that the Post-graduate doctors in Tamil Nadu are the least paid across the country, the letter further mentioned how the doctors have been repeatedly requesting the Government officers and ministers including the Chief Minister of the State for the last two months for raising the stipend of Non-Service M.D./M.S, D.M./M.Ch, and CRRIs on par with other states.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that pointing out the hard work by the Post-graduate resident doctors amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, TNRDA and Tamil Nadu Medical Students Association (TNMSA) had earlier written to the Government regarding this matter.
The PG resident doctors have been demanding a stipend hike of at least Rs 70,000- 80,000 per month for Non-Service MD/MS Post Graduates, Rs 80,000-90,000 for the DM/MCh PG residents, and at least Rs 30,000 for the CRRIs along with a yearly increase in stipend.
Even after several representations, as the doctors in Tamil Nadu didn't receive any response from the Government the resident doctors and medical interns from Government medical colleges in the State had also organized a black-badge protest to make their voices heard.
Around 6,000 doctors from 18 Government medical colleges in the State participated in this peaceful demonstration of their protest by wearing black badges to their work.
Previously, while speaking to Medical Dialogues, a member from TNRDA had hinted at the possibility of a protest if the Government still does not pay any attention to their demands. One month has passed since then and still the demands of Tamil Nadu doctors are far from being fulfilled.
Choosing the hard way, the doctors have planned to organize a token strike on Wednesday as a mark of their grievances. Around 50 doctors from each medical college are going to organize a token strike for around an hour on July 14. The doctors will hold placards and raise slogans regarding their grievances. Services might be suspended from two to three hours as well, a member from TNRDA dropped the hint while speaking to Medical Dialogues. However, the doctors are not planning to suspend the emergency services on Wednesday, considering the welfare of the patients.
"Probably a group of doctors is going to meet the Health Ministry officials again regarding the matter, as we do not want to boycott the services which might result in problems for the patients. However, if the Government still doesn't pay any attention to our demands till Wednesday night, we are going to boycott all the services from Thursday onwards," said Dr. V Vignesh Rajendran, a Member of TNRDA.
"We have tried our best to sort out the issue through a diplomatic route for the past two months. From the DME to the Health Minister to the CM- we have met everyone. They all are aware of the issue. Previously they asked us to wait till the lockdown but the lockdown has been lifted now. Besides, it would take them only one hour to solve our problems," he added.
Pointing out that the hard work that the doctors put in, Dr. Vignesh further mentioned, "We have worked hard during the pandemic. After the second wave is over, all the non-Covid cases are going to come rushing in and we will have to attend to the patients for almost 18 hours a day. We initially thought that the approach of the Government would be more sympathetic towards the doctors, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we haven't received anything but empty proposals and promises. The Health Ministry officials had earlier promised to consider our situation, but we want something beyond the mere promises."
"We have been almost begging for our demands, our basic rights for the past two months. A doctor begging for his/her salary is a really pitiful state of affairs indeed," he added.
"The Government can still consider our promises as they have three whole days to consider our issues before we boycott all the services. As we don't want the patients to suffer, we have given the indication of a strike much earlier. We have tried every single diplomatic option possible. Now, we are left with no choice but to protest," he mentioned adding that until they get an official Government order regarding the stipend hike and yearly increase, the boycott of services would continue.