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Medical services in Kerala remained hit with the indefinite strike by government doctors entering the fourth day today as the CPI(M)-led LDF regime warned of action if the stir was not ended immediately.
Describing the strike as 'illegal', she warned that the government would be forced to take action against the doctors, who launched the indefinite stir on April 13 protesting the extension of out-patient (OP) time in government hospitals.
They are also opposing the suspension of one of their colleagues at a health centre in Palakkad for refusing to attend to work following the increase in OP timings.
The association's state committee meeting is being held in Thiruvananthapuram, which will decide on how to intensify the agitation, he said when asked about health minister's call to probationary doctors to rejoin duty as early as possible.
Officials said the services of post-graduate doctors and house surgeons were being used by the government to attend to patients coming to the OPs.
Doctors in Medical college hospitals are not taking part in the strike.
The strike has hit patients coming to government hospitals and drawn their ire.
"We are coming to government hospitals from far-off places getting into four buses as we cannot afford to go to private hospitals. The strike is not against the government, but against the poor people," a patient said.
Meanwhile, a 62-year-old tribal woman who had come to the district hospital in Wynad for treatment yesterday, died this morning at her home with her family members alleging proper treatment was not provided due to the strike.
CPI(M) workers took out a march to the hospital alleging that the striking doctors were responsible for her death and demanded action.
Shylaja told reporters that the government was not for declaring a war with the doctors. "They have gone on strike without giving notice," she said.
"There was no reason for them to launch the agitation, and denying treatment to patients is unfair," she said.
She also said probationary doctors should immediately join duty, failing which action would be launched against them.
KGMOA should not force them to continue with the strike, she said adding the government will begin collecting from today details of probationers, who were participating in the strike.
The doctors' attempt was to defeat the government's 'Ardram Mission' which envisages basic facilities to all hospitals in the state and making government hospitals patient-friendly, she said.
As part of the mission, primary health centres are being converted to family health centres to provide a comprehensive health facilities to people.
The doctors have made it clear that only the casualty wing would function during the strike and in-patient treatment would be provided only till April 18.
There would not be any new admissions and only emergency operations would be performed.
? Jitesh said a team of doctors of KGMOA today gave an assurance to Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Health Minister, saying the association was willing for discussion and ready to cooperate with the Ardram mission.
?? Letters in this regard were handed over to the private secretaries of Vijayan and Shylaja, he said.
On the death of the woman patient, he said she was suffering from respiratory infection. She was given medicines and sent back home yesterday. She died at her home.
?? The body was brought to the hospital today and the association has suggested that autopsy be performed to find out if there was any negligence.
The Kerala Human Rights Commission has asked the the government to take immediate steps to resolve the issue as it was the common people who were facing hardships.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, today said the government should immediately hold talks with the striking doctors to end the impasse.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)