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Doctors' strike enters day 5, patients continue to suffer

Saturday, 5 July 2014 - 1:16pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

The healthcare crisis across Maharashtra continues on the fifth day as the Maharashtra State Gazetted Medical Officers Organisation (MAGMO) refused to back out from their strike, even though the Maharashtra Essential Services and Maintenance Act​ (MESMA) notice has been served to them.

Speaking to dna, president and general secretary of MAGMO, Dr Rajesh Gaikwad said, "We had a discussion with government officers, but our talks with the state authorities have failed. The government wants us to take a non-cooperation strike back and get back to work, but we won't back out until our demand are full-filled. So far, 8,000 resignations have been received and more are pouring in."

The strike has paralysed medical facilities across the state in a paralysed situation. According to sources, "Around 80 people across the state have lost their lives as they could not get required medical care in time."

Also Read: Is Maharashtra headed towards a healthcare crisis? Lakhs of patients unattended with 12,000 doctors on strike

Gaikwad further said, "We want the cabinet decision on the first five major demands, with immediate effect and a written assurance on the rest." The major demands include the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations for all state medical officers in the public health department, a pay hike, fixed working hours and regularisation of promotion procedure.

Dr Gaikwad has been on a hunger strike along with Dr Pramod Rakshamwar at Azad Maidan since July 1, 2014, while hundreds of doctors from various districts are agitating at their district civil hospitals. Among the 12,000 doctors, who are participating in the strike are those from sub-district and district hospitals, primary health centres, and state-run dispensaries, along with specialist doctors. 

Also Read: On Doctor's Day, 12,000 doctors in Maharashtra go on indefinite strike; hospitals on a standstill

"We have had a discussion on the same topic again and again, but except commitment we have not received any required action from them. Rather than agreeing to our demands, MESMA notice has been issued. MESMA will not affect us. If demands are not accepted, we would be submitting our resignation," Gaikwad added.

The Maharashtra Essential Services and Maintenance Act (MESMA) allows the government to penalise employees whose strike can adversely affect essential services to the public.

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