Wednesday, August 23, 2006


AIIMS doctors on mass casual leave today

NEW DELHI: Thursday is going to be a not-so-pleasant deja vu for patients at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

More than 700 resident doctors from AIIMS and Maulana Azad Medical College are expected to go on mass casual leave in protest against the OBC reservation Bill.

Under graduates of AIIMS, Maulana Azad Medical College and UCMS will also go on a 24-hour strike. The situation will be reviewed after a day and the future course of action decided accordingly.

Authorities at AIIMS have decided to stop OPD registration at 10 am on Thursday instead of the usual 11 am to cope with the mass absenteeism.

The official stand is that emergency and in-patient services will not suffer but with just about 500 faculty members and 300-odd residents expected to be on duty that would be a tough task, admit insiders. On an average day, the patient turnout at AIIMS is about 7,600.

AIIMS spokesperson Dr Shakti Gupta said: "We have a contingency plan ready, one of which is to curtail OPD timings because one doctor can only see about 40-50 patients in a day and once a patient is registered he/she has to be attended to. Anyway not all residents will go on leave, the available work force will be pressed into service and things are expected to be normal."

Resident doctors at the institute sported black ribbons on Wednesday as a mark of protest. Said Dr Vinod Patra, president of the Resident Doctors’ Association: "We are appreciative of some of the measures adopted by the government like the staggered implementation and preservation of the number of general category seats. But what was the hurry of placing the Bill for Cabinet approval when it was already sub judice in the Supreme Court? We are still hoping that the Bill will be withdrawn in view of overwhelming public opinion against it."

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