As private doctors go on strike, patient load goes up at govt hospitals in Mumbai

On Monday evening, protesting doctors in Kolkata withdrew their strike after an hour-long meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. In Maharashtra, similar protests were organised since last week in support of the doctors in Kolkata. (Photo: Reuters)

Written by Angela Mathew

WITH MANY private hospitals and doctors on a token strike on Monday to protest against the assault on a Kolkata doctor, government hospitals saw a slight surge in patients visiting their out-patient department (OPD).

At Nair Hospital, patients waited outside the OPD for an average of two hours on Monday. Varshika Naik waited for nearly four hours with her two-year-old son Nihal, who was suffering from fever since Sunday night. I went to Jaslok hospital first, and since their OPDs were shut, I came to Nair, Naik said.

Byculla resident Sushil Gawande (55), who was suffering from an ear infection, first went to Masina hospital in Byculla, then three nursing homes, before going to Nair hospital. I was unaware that the doctors are on strike in private hospitals, said Gawande, a taxi driver.

A doctor at Nair hospital said they were trying to see as many patients as possible with available resources.

The situation in J J Hospital was similar. Children and elderly patients were especially affected by the long queues. Roshni Waingankar (6) who was suffering from diarrhoea stood dehydrated, as her mother Amrita waited for their turn. She is suffering from loose motions. We tried reaching out to our private doctor but he was not there, Amrita said.

According to Dr Ajay Chandanwale, dean of J J Hospital, on Monday, the hospital recorded 3,350 patients in its OPD. Usually we see 100 to 200 less than that. But the patient load was managed by our staff, he said.

On Monday evening, protesting doctors in Kolkata withdrew their strike after an hour-long meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. In Maharashtra, similar protests were organised since last week in support of the doctors in Kolkata.

Such violent acts in the workplace will no longer be tolerated by the medical community. Every doctor in the state is supporting this protest and the government must take action. This must begin with the proper implementation of the Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions Act, 2010, said Dr Mukesh Gupta, president of the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC).