Bangalore: Protesting government doctors called off their strike after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday agreed to consider majority of their demands. The doctors will resume their work from Thursday.
But the chief minister refused to increase the salaries of these doctors, who have been appointed by the Health and Family Welfare Department, on par with their medical education department counterparts, saying he will take a decision only after studying the salary pattern of other state government employees.
Healthcare services in government hospitals were affected across the state after the doctors resigned en masse on Monday.
Mr Siddaramaiah requested the doctors not to resort to such extreme tactics and urged them to resolve issues with the government through dialogue.
“The doctors have expressed their regret for inconveniencing patients,” Mr Siddaramaiah said emerging out of the meeting. The chief minister assured the doctors that the government will meet at least nine to ten of their 16 demands and convinced them to withdraw their agitation.
The government, however, refused to consider one of their main demands of retaining district government hospitals under the Health and Family Welfare department instead of the Medical Education Department.
“Due to technical and legal reasons, this demand cannot be considered. The government, however, has agreed to upgrade the Resident Medical Officer (RMO) post to district surgeon in district hospitals. Due to MCI norms, district hospitals cannot be taken over from the Medical Education Department,” said Minister of Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader.
“The chief minister agreed to release the salaries of doctors on the thirtieth or first week of every month from zilla panchayats. The government has responded positively to appoint chief medical officers to district hospitals,” he said.
“The doctors had demanded that the vacant posts be filled following the Tamil Nadu model, but the chief minister categorically told them that the KPSC will appoint the doctors. The government refused to accept the demand of increasing the basic pay of doctors working on contract basis and regularise service of those who have completed three years of service. The government also refused to amend the Transfer Act,” he said.
Dr T.A. Veerabhadraiah, President of the Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association – which led the protests, said that the association members are satisfied with the government response.
“We apologise to the people for inconveniencing the people. We will withdraw our resignations and resume our duties. We will not resort strikes in the future,” he said.