Daily activities at nearly all significant government hospitals in Delhi have been disrupted over the past 12 days. Only senior faculty members and physicians are seeing patients. On Tuesday, the atmosphere deteriorated, with many local hospitals joining the protests. They were reportedly mistreated by policemen while being held during their procession to the Supreme Court on Monday.
Doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) have supported the boycott. This comes a day after resident doctors opposing NEET PG counseling delays claimed to have been beaten by police.
AIIMS was among the few tertiary-care government medical college hospitals that had not joined the protest. However, in a letter to the Union Health Minister, AIIMS doctors stated that if no substantial moves are made to accelerate NEET PG counseling, they will suspend every non-emergency activity on Tuesday.
The shutdown of emergency services in all hospitals would worsen the capital’s healthcare. Due to protests, patients were being directed to the AIIMS for attention after hospital emergency departments were closed.
NEET PG admissions counseling is on hold due to Supreme Court lawsuits involving the newly implemented reservation for economically weaker categories. The medics have asked the Supreme Court to accelerate the proceedings. The court has asked the Union Health Ministry to provide a review on the specified criterion of Rs. 8 lakh yearly income for quota qualification as soon as possible.
In addition, following Monday’s event, FAIMA urged its resident physicians’ association to refrain from all duties, even emergency services. The protest started in November with the suspension of OPD facilities by two nationwide groups, the Federation of Resident Doctors‘ Association (FORDA) and FAIMA. The protest gradually grew in intensity, with physicians refusing even emergency work. Finally, doctors halted the strike for one week at the government’s request. On December 17, FORDA members disengaged from all activities, resuming the boycott.
According to the protesting doctors, the postponements have already cost roughly 45,000 students one year of their studies. Most are currently awaiting the counseling result to enter the workplace.
Young residents constitute the foundation of the care provided at extensive medical university health care facilities. Unfortunately, the shortage of a new class has led to a one-third personnel shortage across such facilities. The current doctors worked 100 to 120 hour weeks at the pandemic’s peak to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the physicians claim to be fatigued and are urging that the counseling be completed as soon as possible, particularly with yet another wave of COVID-19 on the horizon.