Doctors' strike

Kerala doctors end strike, accept extending out-patient timings after state promises to deploy staff

The doctors began their strike on April 13, protesting against the government’s move to extend out-patient facility timings without increasing staff.

Government doctors in Kerala withdrew their four-day agitation late on Monday after Health Minister KK Shailaja and leaders of the Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association, which was leading the strike, met.

The doctors had begun their strike on April 13, protesting against the government’s move to extend out-patient facility timings at family health centres without ensuring there was adequate staff. They were also upset over the suspension of a doctor at a health centre in Palakkad.

Until Monday evening, the state government had called the strike illegal and refused to hold talks with the doctors until they resumed work.

After the meeting, the medical officers’ association agreed to call off the strike and extend the out-patient timings in state-run hospitals till 6 pm, the minister said, according to The Indian Express. The doctors also agreed to support the Ardram Mission – a scheme to ensure basic facilities are available at all government centres.

Shailaja added that the government will consider reversing the suspension of the Palakkad doctor if he apologises.

The government also promised the doctors’ association that at least three doctors will be posted in the health centres, The Hindu reported.

Nurses threaten strike

Meanwhile, nurses from the United Nurses Association announced on Monday that they will stage a protest and not work in private hospitals across Kerala from April 24 if the state government does not implement a Supreme Court directive about minimum salary, The Hindu reported.

The United Nurses Association and the Indian Nurses Association had called off a month-long stir on July 20, 2017, after the state said it would implement the Supreme Court directive of giving a minimum salary of Rs 20,000 to nurses working in private hospitals in the state. The nurses said that the government promised to issue a final notification about the wage revision before March 31, but has not done so yet.

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