Health services at public hospitals in Nagaland were hit on Monday as doctors launched a three-day agitation demanding their retirement age be raised by two years.
Members of the Association of Serving Physicians of Nagaland (NIDA) have taken casual leave en masse to lobby their demand to raise the retirement age of government doctors from 60 to 62. NIDA’s request is being considered by the state government, but no final decision could be made as there is opposition from some quarters, Chief Secretary J Alam told PTI. The unrest affected Outpatient Department (OPD) wards at government hospitals and state health centers, but the emergency department and intensive care units were open, NIDA said in a statement. .
Experienced medics will be available around the clock to respond to any emergencies during the turmoil, he said, adding that vaccination and Covid-19 testing were not affected.
The request is in line with the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016, NIDA said. The organization said it was forced to take this step because the state government failed to resolve the issue within a year.
Doctors at Dimapur district hospital said they were dealing with emergency cases but not OPD patients. The state government had previously warned agitated doctors that action would be taken against them.
On the first day of the unrest, the district administrations of Kohima and Dimapur sought the help of private practitioners to treat the patients, official sources said.
The Chief Secretary said the state government has a significant number of contract doctors and others working in the central schemes, who will meet the needs of patients during this period.
The Nagaland government said the prime minister’s statement was made at a political rally and no guidelines were given to states.
The Chief Secretary said that the State Cabinet will soon have a meeting to deliberate on NIDA’s request. Alam said not all districts were affected by the medics’ unrest. The government did not sanction their request for casual leave, he said.
Several organisations, in particular the influential Naga Federation of Students, oppose NIDA’s demand saying that raising the retirement age for doctors would create stagnation in job opportunities. PTI CORR NBS NN NN
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