Doctors at state-run medical institutions in Haryana today observed a two-hour pen-down strike over their various demands, including special package for specialists and allowances on par with their central government counterparts.
State Health Minister Anil Vij, however, said the demands of the doctors were "unjustified" and they would not be allowed to paralyse essential services.
All the government doctors observed two-hour pen-down strike across the state, but emergency services were not affected, Haryana Civil Medical Services Association (HCMSA) president Dr Jasbir Singh Parmar claimed.
He said Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Jha has invited the doctors for talks tomorrow and warned that if the state government failed to address their problems, OPD services would be shut down on September 13.
Dr Parmar also said emergency services and post-mortem would be stopped from September 14 if their demands are not met.
Asserting that there was "acute shortage" of specialist doctors in government hospitals in the state, he said, "As per the WHO guidelines, there should be one doctor for every 1,000 people, but in Haryana there is one doctor for every 10,000 people."
"A large number of posts for doctors in government-run health centres in rural areas is lying vacant," Dr Parmar said.
On the Haryana government's decision to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1974, prohibiting any strike in the Health Department for six months, he said, "It is the government's responsibility that patients get proper treatment in state-run hospitals and health centres."
Alleging that "the minister keeps changing his stance towards demands of the doctors", the HCMSA claimed the government was not willing to look into its demands in spite of two rounds of talks with the authorities.
Dr Parmar said the HCMSA's demands like special package for specialists and allowances on a par with central government doctors had been accepted by the state government at a meeting on September 16 last year, but no notification has been issued by the government till this day.