2,600 Karnataka doctors resume duty after quitting in protest

Bangalore : About 2,600 doctors including specialists, working in state-run hospitals across Karnataka, resumed duty Tuesday a day after they resigned in protest over the state government’s failure to fulfill their demands, including of wage disparity.

“All striking doctors are back on duty as we do not want patients to suffer from want of treatment. We will not take back our resignations till the government meets our major demands,” Karnataka State Government Medical Officers’ Association president T.A. Veerabhadraiah told IANS here.

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The doctors reported to duty after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah agreed to meet their representatives Wednesday here to discuss the demands as he also holds the finance portfolio.

Though the state health minister Monday said only 911 doctors resigned, the association claimed that 2,600 doctors had submitted their resignation letters to the chief administrative office of the health and family welfare department.

About 800 doctors and specialists from Bangalore division, 700 from Mysore division and 500 each from Belgaum and Gulbarga divisions had quit Monday.

“Our major demands are to bring back all district hospitals under the health and family welfare department from the medical education department, fill up vacancies in all state-run hospitals in cities and districts across the state and eliminate wage disparity between doctors of the two departments,” Veerabhadriah said.

The state government had put 10 of the 30 district hospitals under the medical education department in 2006 to allow practising doctors and specialists to teach in the state-run medical colleges attached to the respective hospitals.

“Of the 6,000 posts in state-run hospitals across the state, about 2,500 posts have been vacant over the last six years. About 60 percent of posts for specialists and 20 percent for doctors have not been filled so far,” Veerabhadriah said.

While doctors under the health and family welfare department, who have put in six years of service, are paid Rs.40,000 per month, doctors under the medical education department with same length of service are paid Rs.78,000 per month.

“Similarly, doctors under health department with 6-13 years of experience are giver Rs.68,000 per month, while doctors under the medical education department with equivalent years of service are paid Rs.110,000,” Veerabhadraiah claimed.