Resident doctors of Delhi were on strike since Monday and they have called off their stir late Tuesday night, after the Delhi government has invoked ESMA. The Delhi government invoked ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) for a period of six months, when the strike by 2,000 resident doctors in 20 hospitals ran into the second day.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a series of tweets that, “We have agreed to all demands of docs. I personally intervened. Yet they are not calling off the strike. Why? What else is left now. Patients suffering. I appeal to docs to return to duty. I am their biggest well-wisher. If they have more demands, we will agree with them also, but causing inconvenience to the public is wrong. We have been forced to invoke ESMA. If they still don’t return, then in the public interest, we will be left with no option but to take harsh steps.”
Health minister Satyendra Jain held a meeting with medical superintendents of all Delhi government hospitals after invoking ESMA and directed them not refuse any patients. He has instructed the senior doctors to hold OPDs and conduct surgeries. A doctor who attended the meeting said, “We tried to bring to the minister’s notice that it was not possible to conduct emergency surgeries and procedures without the resident doctors, but we were told no patient should be refused treatment, and senior doctors should be put on duty even during the night.”
“We have gone through the minutes of the meeting with the Delhi government, and taken into account the feedback from our representatives who attended the meeting. The government is only repeating the same promises it repeated in February, nothing has been done actually. Till our problems are resolved, the strike will continue,” Dr Anshuman Raheja, spokesperson for FORDA said.
Health minister Satyendra Jain told, “We are looking into posting home guards and police personnel in hospitals. We have accepted all their demands, just or not. Some will take time to complete, but that cannot be a reason for doctors to stop work.”
Doctor’s union FORDA’s president, Dr Pankaj Solanki told, soon after the ESMA notification that, even if they were “forced” to recall the strike in Delhi government hospitals, it would continue in other hospitals.