Around 500 junior doctors from nine teaching hospitals affiliated to Osmania Medical College boycotted non-emergency duties on Monday in protest against mandatory rural service. Government is holding counselling for doctors for the rural stint on Oct 1.
Led by Dr G Srinivasa, president of Telangana Junior Doctors’ Association (TJUDA), the PG students sat on a dharna outside Osmania General Hospital superintendent Dr C G Raghuram’s chamber for a couple of hours before laying siege to the office of the director of medical education (DME). As a result of the protest, many patients slated to undergo surgeries on Monday were left high and dry.
Instead of a one-year compulsory rural stint, the TJUDA wants the government to replace it with a voluntary system. They also demanded introduction of residential system for students and faculty members and provision of special protection force inside the premises of teaching hospitals.
“Why are only PG medicos in Telangana and AP being singled out for compulsory rural service when other states have no such system? Even IIT and IIM graduates are never asked to undertake compulsory rural service though the Centre heavily subsidizes their education,” said M Kiran, a TJUDA member.
While the stir did not impact emergency services in the teaching hospitals on Monday, the TJUDA members said they would boycott even emergency services if talks with the government failed. “When we gave a representation to DME Dr Putta Srinivas, seeking to withdraw the compulsory rural service, the latter promised to respond in a couple of days with the state government’s answer,” said Srinivasa.
Interestingly, Kiran, a PG second year student at Osmania Medical College, said that they would consider compulsory rural service if the government is ready to pay them salaries on par with assistant professors and civil assistant surgeons.
Junior doctors, who are mostly PG students of Gandhi Medical College and Kakatiya Medical College, also took out symbolic protests but did not boycott duties.