Private hospitals step in to fill void caused by striking Rajasthan doctors

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Saturday directed the health department to authorise private hospitals to treat at approved rates patients who are suffering due to the four-day strike by doctors at government hospitals across the state, officials said.

The private hospitals will charge patients as per the standard rates approved for Jaipur’s SMS Hospital and other authorised government hospitals, a senior health department official stated here today.

The state government has also sought help from doctors in the army, Border Security Force and railways.

“The chief minister has also asked that recruitment of 1,000 doctors be started from Monday,” the official added.

The decisions were taken in a high-level meeting to review the medical and health situation due to strike by government doctors at chief minister’s office Saturday.

Meanwhile, medical services in Rajasthan remained badly affected on the fourth day of the strike by resident doctors. Officials said at least 30 patients have died across the state so far due to the agitation.

The state government has clamped the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA) on the doctors agitating for pay hike and other demands.

“About 361 doctors have been arrested for violating RESMA and 25 doctors have been suspended,” the official said.

He said the doctors have been invited for talks.

Nearly 3,500 resident doctors and 20,000 National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) contract employees, along with thousands of in-service doctors, are participating in the strike since Wednesday.

The NRHM contract employees are demanding permanent posts which, they claim, was promised to them by the chief minister last year.

The All Rajasthan In-service Doctors Association (ARISDA) has been demanding a hike in wages on a par with the central government employees for the past 11 months.

Sources said patients are being attended to by senior doctors at hospitals in Jaipur. However, the strike has had a severe impact on rural areas where most of the primary health centres are shut.


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