New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) As the indefinite strike by over 20,000 resident doctors in the national capital continued for the second day on Tuesday, the number of patients referred to the AIIMS crossed the 2,500-mark.
However, the resident doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have also threatened to join the strike if the issue remains unresolved.
“More than 2,500 patients from different hospitals of Delhi have come to AIIMS in the past two days. In such situations, it is becoming difficult for us to attend to them, as already half of the senior faculty members are on leave as part of summer vacations,” a senior surgeon at AIIMS told IANS.
AIIMS, one of India’s premier research and educational institutes, has around 2,200 beds and serves over 10,000 patients every day.
He said that due to the surge in the number of patients, treatment in urgent cases was being delayed.
AIIMS Director M.C. Mishra told IANS that a number of patients being referred to the hospital were serious but they had to wait for medical attention.
“Looking at the situation for the last two days, it seems that if the strike continues for a few more days then there are chances that AIIMS will attend only the major referred cases,” he said.
On the issue of AIIMS resident doctors joining the ongoing strike, he said the facilities at AIIMS were far better than those at Delhi government hospitals and there was no point in their joining the strike.
Calling the lack of facilities for resident doctors a problem of the Delhi government hospitals, he said he will talk to the resident doctors of AIIMS and inquire about their problems.
In the neighbouring Safdarjung hospital, where residents doctors are already part of the ongoing strike, only 10 percent of the patients were treated it the emergency ward and the OPDs.
Resident doctors, despite being present in their respective departments, avoided any consultation with the patients. However, on instructions by the seniors, patients with major health complications needing immediate attention were treated.
“Till today (Tuesday), we have treated serious patients though being on strike. However, from tomorrow onwards we will ensure that not a single resident doctor attends any patient. Let the faculty deal with the patients and handle it,” a senior resident working in the orthopaedic department of Safdarjung told IANS.
Following the doctors’ refusal to end their strike, the Delhi government Tuesday invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and said that if they continue with their agitation the government will take harsh action.
The doctors went on strike in February too, after which Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain assured them of better working conditions.