PUNE: Intern doctors at Sassoon Hospital, near Pune station, undertook a cleanliness drive on Friday to protest as the government has not responded to their demand of a raise in stipend. The interns have been on an indefinite strike since Wednesday and are supported by the college administration and students that are still studying.
Students, who graduate after their medical degrees, are supposed to intern with a hospital for a minimum of one year. The interns say that, in Maharashtra, they are paid a meagre amount of Rs 6,000 per month for work that might extend up to 16 hours a day. The interns say that in other states, such stipends go up to Rs 15,000 per month, making Maharashtra the lowest paying state, but with the highest number of patients availing treatment at government hospitals.
The interns have been trying to communicate with the government regarding their demands but say that the government has not been responding positively. The government has had a meeting with the intern doctors, which has proved unproductive, as the interns have stuck to their demand. The State was recently mulling raising the stipend to Rs 11,000. Frustrated by the lack of response, the interns cleaned up the hospital premises.
On the other hand, Out Patient Department (OPD) services were hit for the third successive day as thousands of patients were left stranded as the limited hospital staff strained itself in handling services.
Ketan Deshmukh, an intern who is part of the strike, said, “We are on strike and I accept that there has been a strain on the hospital staff, but we are attending emergency patients and casualty cases.”