Doctors lash out at govt for roping in medical students for COVID duty

Resident doctors in Karnataka have condemned the Union government for compelling medical students to work as slaves in the name of the pandemic for an additional six months

IMA, Indian Medical Association, Karnataka doctor's strike, outpatient services, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike,
The Union government on Monday announced that they will deploy medical interns for COVID-19 management duties since hospitals were running at half their capacity with several doctors having contracted the coronavirus

The resident doctors of Karnataka have lashed out at the Union government’s recent decision to rope in final year medical and nursing students for COVID-19 duty to overcome staff shortage in hospitals swamped by rising number of COVID-19 patients. Calling it a “black day”, the resident doctors have termed this move as “unscientific, irrational and uncalled for”.

According to a statement released by the Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) on Monday (May 3), the government has brought in “bonded labour system” without giving job security, seniority or incentives or fee waiver or exams for final year resident doctors by asking them to do COVID-19 duty. They are now being compelled to work as slaves in the name of the pandemic for an additional six months.

“It is an act of highest disgust,” read the KARD statement.

Also read: 382 doctors died of COVID, says IMA; accuses Centre of neglect

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The statement labelled this action by the government as a “tragedy greater than the pandemic itself” for all the resident doctors. The government has finally found scapegoats to hide their failures in the form of resident doctors, the statement said, adding that they have run out of words to condemn these measures. They also added that if the government fails to uplift the medical system during this horrifying crisis, then they will never do it in the future too.

This statement comes in the wake of an announcement made by the Union government on Monday that they would deploy medical interns for COVID-19 management duties since hospitals were running at half their capacity with several doctors having contracted the coronavirus.

The medical interns will be supervised by the faculty as part of the internship rotation, said the government, while postponing the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) for a period of four months at least.

Incentives to medical and nursing students who join hospitals on COVID-19 duty has been promised, which include financial incentives and preference in government jobs after graduation through a credit system.

The KARD statement also criticised the government for not giving junior equivalent pay, risk allowance, isolation and quarantine facilities to those who had completed their internships. “The government probably is threatening them, when it says that it will give priority to doctors who work for 100 days even as they study for their exams. Tt fails to make a single comment for the doctors who are working for 400 days now,” the statement pointed out with sarcasm.

 

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