The resident doctors of state-run hospitals in Maharashtra stayed away from work for the third day on Wednesday, prompting the government to order them to report to duty by Wednesday evening or lose six months’ salary.
Nearly 4,000 doctors have been on strike in various government and municipal hospitals since Monday demanding security at work place in the wake of a string of attacks on their colleagues.
As many as 500 resident doctors in medical colleges in Mumbai have been issued notices by their deans, an official from Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) said.
Also, 370 resident doctors in Nagpur, 200 in Pune and 114 in Solapur have been suspended by the deans of their respective medical colleges, the official said.
Their protest mainly affected the medical services of Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) and general wards, a MARD official said.
Maharashtra Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan ordered the resident doctors to report to duty by 8 PM on Wednesday or lose their six months’ salary.
“The resident doctors should report to duty by today evening or they will lose their salary for six months. The students of post graduate courses who are serving as resident doctors will also face the action,” Mahajan told reporters.
“We have all the legal provisions to take such steps,” he said.
“We have assured them of providing enough security and it will be given by month-end. Now, they should resume the duty,” the minister said.
He said patients from the economically weaker sections come to government hospitals and the resident doctors should not play with their lives by taking such an extreme stand.
Medical services in 17 government hospitals in Maharashtra, including four in Mumbai, have been affected because of the protest.
The OPDs in these hospitals have been hit hard as only senior doctors are available to attend the patients.
The MARD, the apex body of the resident doctors, has officially not supported the decision of the medicos to stay away from work, but many of its members are a part of the ongoing protest.
However, the hearing on the petition filed by activist Afak Mandaviya, seeking action against the protesting doctors, was adjourned in the high court on Wednesday as the bench presided by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur was not available.
The plea will to be heard on Thursday.