Government doctors in Kerala began an indefinite strike since this morning, protesting against suspension of a doctor and extending out- patient (OP) time, putting patients to hardship.
The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) had called for the agitation last night to protest against the decision to extend the OP time in hospitals from9 AM to 6 PM. Earlier, the timing for the same was up to noon.
Patients visiting the hospitals since early today were clueless about the stir.
A woman,who had come to the government general hospital here at 5 am, expressed anger and said the stir would cause hardship to the poor patients, as they cannot afford to go to private hospitals.
"Only after coming here, I came to know that doctors are on strike," she said.
Patients have been waiting in a queue since 4 am, she added.
A statement from the KGMOA said 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 admission, it said, adding that only emergency operations would be performed.
The association said temporary doctors also want to be made permanent.
In a Facebook post, Health Minister K K Shylaja said the agitation was to defeat the government's 'Ardram Mission' which envisages basic facilities to all hospitals in the state and making government hospitals patient-friendly.
As part of the mission, the primary health centres are being converted to family health centres to provide comprehensive health facilities to people, the minister said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)