Resident doctors of three central hospitals --RML, Safdarjung and Lady Hardinge - on Saturday suspended OPD services in protest against repeated delay in conducting NEET-PG 2021 counseling.
The move was following a nationwide call by the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA) for suspension of out-patient department (OPD) services at hospitals from November 27.
"Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, admission to various courses in NEET PG 2021 has been delayed indefinitely. The residents are carrying both Covid and non-Covid services tirelessly in the last one-and-a-half years and exhausted both physically and mentally.
"They have been waiting patiently till date for some positive outcome of the Supreme Court proceedings in the matter of already delayed NEET PG 2021 counselling. However, there seems no respite to their physical and mental distress, with the next court hearing scheduled on January 6, 2022.
To mark our protest against these repeated delays and postponement in counseling, we the residents of ABVIMS and Dr RML hospital decide to withdraw OPD services on Saturday, 27 November, 2021 onwards, including Sunday OPDS," RML RDA said in a letter to the hospital administration.
The doctors' associations demanded the government and the top court to take necessary measures to expedite the NEET PG counseling and admission process, and to fast-track the court proceedings.
Issuing support, AIIMS RDA also urged the Government of India to actively intervene in this matter urgently and expedite the counseling process, stating it is extremely unfortunate that NEET-PG 2021 counseling is being delayed indefinitely despite the fact that nearly two months have passed since the results of the entrance test were announced.
The entrance exam that usually happens in the first quarter of the calendar year was already delayed by many months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This extreme delay has led to a shortage of manpower in medical colleges all across India, the AIIMS RDA said in a statement.
"Thousands of postgraduate seats will remain unfilled this year if the counselling remains postponed. As COVID-19 cases are increasing in many countries across the world, it is prudent that our nation remains prepared for another wave of the pandemic.
The current working pool of resident doctors are already overburdened, which can have an adverse impact on optimum delivery of healthcare services. The admission process of the new batch of residents should therefore be completed without any further delay," the statement said.
In a letter to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, the FORDA had on Friday said the "already over-burdened and exhausted" resident doctors of the nation fighting at the frontline since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, waited patiently till November 25 for some positive outcome of the ongoing Supreme Court proceedings over NEET-PG 2021 counselling.
"However, there seems to be no respite to their physical and mental distress with the next court hearing scheduled on January 6, 2022.
"To mark our protest against these repeated delays and postponements of counselling, following discussion with representatives of multiple Resident Doctors Associations (RDA) across the nation, we have decided to withdraw from Out Patient Department (OPD) services, Saturday, November 27 onwards," FORDA said.
They urged the Union Government and the Supreme Court of India to take note of the grievance of resident doctors of the nation and to take necessary measures for expediting the NEET-PG 2021 counseling as well as the admission process and to fast-track the court proceedings on an urgent basis.
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