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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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Junior doctors' protests hit work at hospitals

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JULY 30. The junior doctors' strike continued for the eighth day on Monday. The doctors, in a bid to intensify their agitation, picketed the departments of the Victoria Hospital, Vani Vilas Hospital, Venkateshwara Institute of ENT, and Minto Eye Hospital. Work in the departments was paralysed for half an hour. At some of the departments work was not resumed.

The doctors' action led to confusion. Anguished patients, who had been waiting in the queue for a long time for consultation and treatment, expressed their anxiety and resentment at the absence of doctors. Around 400 junior doctors participated in the picketing.

The junior doctors are planning to bar all duty doctors and medical officers from entering government hospitals on Tuesday.

Representatives of the junior doctors' association will extend the ``parallel out-patient department'' to speciality departments on Tuesday. The ``parallel OPD'' will be run opposite to each of the OPD units by the doctors on strike, members of the junior doctors' association say.

`Doctors demanding bribes': As the junior doctors' strike continues, it is the patients who bear the brunt. Hospital sources say that some of the duty doctors at the Victoria Hospital, taking undue advantage of the situation, are demanding bribes from the patients at the OPD for the treatment provided.

However, when contacted, Dr. R. Chandrashekhar, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, denied that the duty doctors were indulging in any malpractice.

He said that if patients had been asked to give bribes, or if they had witnessed any malpractice being committed, they should lodge a complaint with the Medical Superintendent.

A delegation of members of the junior doctors' association will meet the Governor, Ms. V.S. Rama Devi, to submit a memorandum of their demands, and request her to intervene in the negotiations with the Government.

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