Talks to end the ongoing strike of over 65,000 medical staff in the state failed on Monday. Health minister Aravinda Limbavali, who held talks with representatives of Karnataka State Government Medical Officers Association (KSGMOA), agreed to fulfill two of the three main demands of the striking staff, but it failed to satisfy the representatives.
The state government has agreed to ensure payment of salaries within the first week of every month and bring an amendment to the present transfer policy. However, Limbavali expressed his inability to fulfill the third demand: that is the transfer of 10 hospitals, presently under the control of medical education department, to the control of health and family welfare department.
Meanwhile, services at hospitals across the state could improve from Tuesday, as over 18,000 Karnataka state senior and junior health assistants are set to resume duty.
The Karnataka state senior and junior health assistants association has withdrawn their protest for the time being and will be participating in the national programme of pulse polio and administering drugs to prevent elephantiasis.
The state government has also issued orders for recruitment of MBBS graduates and ayurvedic and unani doctors on a temporary basis to meet the crisis.
The high court on Monday initiated suo motu action against government doctors, based on a oral request made by a city-based advocate, who wanted action to be taken against the doctors and the state government in order to prevent more patients from being inconvenienced.
S Vasudeva said before a division bench headed by acting chief justice K Sreedhar Rao and justice S Abdul Nazeer that patients were being deprived of medical facilities for the last four days because of the strike. Vasudeva said a Kannada paper had reported that a patient, who had been involved in an accident, had died due to the non-availability of medical services.
“If they have any grievance, they should take it up with the government. Any individual is guaranteed Right to Life under article 21 of the Constitution. If patients’ fundamental right to live has been violated, then government is responsible for it. The doctors also have displayed utter callousness in resorting to the strike.”