Ajit Pawar To Hold Special Cabinet Meeting To Discuss Resident Doctors’ Indefinite Strike

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Pan-Maharashtra resident doctors are on strike over a variety of demands; the state government’s attempt to persuade the Maharashtra Association Resident Doctors (MARD) to end the indefinite strike failed after a one-and-a-half-hour meeting with the DMER (Directorate of Medical Education and Research) director on February 23. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has decided to hold a cabinet meeting on February 25 to discuss this issue.

The meeting was attended by resident doctors from all 25 state-run medical colleges. “As always, problems were discussed, and we were assured that demands would be met,” Dr. Abhijit Helge, president of Central MARD, stated. “We were asked to withdraw the strike, but we have decided to continue the strike unless we see concrete outcomes given our past experiences of promises not met,” he said.

On February 23, senior doctors performed elective procedures in the outpatient department (OPD). At JJ Hospital alone, 1,842 patients were treated in the OPD, with 64 hospitalised. “The relevant faculty departments handled OPD. Resident doctors were there to provide all emergency care. “No patient was denied treatment,” claimed a representative for JJ Hospital, adding that 45 minor operations and 51 major surgeries were performed on February 23.

However, if the strike persists, it will impact healthcare services in the near future.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar decided to schedule a special cabinet meeting on 25 February to accommodate the demands for increased stipends and better hostel facilities for resident doctors.

Dr. Sarbik De, vice president of Central MARD, stated that on February 7, when they declared the indefinite strike, the state assured them that their demands would be met within two days, thus they called off the strike. However, there hasn’t been much improvement in the past two weeks. She said, “Despite our numerous pleadings, our genuine concerns have gone unheeded.”

The state has over 8,000 resident doctors, yet only 3,000 hostel facilities are readily available. Junior resident doctors currently earn between INR 78,000 and INR 82,000 per month. MARD has sought that the wage scale mirror that of central institutes, which is INR 1.2 lakh per month.