Himachal health services hit as doctors go on strike

Shimla, Jan 23 (IANS) Patient care in over 700 government hospitals and dispensaries in Himachal Pradesh were badly hit as more than 3,000 doctors went on a day-long strike on Monday.

Only casualty services and emergency surgeries worked in the state’s major hospitals.

The strike followed the Himachal Pradesh Medical Officers Association’s call for an agitation over its demands including safety of doctors and pay parity.

Most patients who turned up at the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla and the Rajendra Prasad Medical College at Tanda town in Kangra district were caught unawares.

Himachal Pradesh Medical Officers Association President Jiwanand Chauhan said the government’s failure to ensure safety of doctors in the hospitals forced them to go on strike.

“For the past four years we have been demanding safety of doctors on duty but the government is silent,” he said.

The association has claimed that a doctor after facing humiliation from politically connected people in a hospital in Una suffered a heart attack.

Congress legislator Bambar Thakur is also accused of misbehaviour with a government doctor last month over issuing a handicap certificate.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Kaul Singh said the government was concerned over the safety of doctors. He said the government was bringing a bill in the ensuing budget session in this regard.