Raipur, December 6: Around 400 resident doctors of a medical college-cum-hospital in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur boycotted emergency services from Monday as part of an ongoing strike to protest against postponement of NEET-PG counseling.

The Junior Doctors' Association (JUDA) of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and its affiliated Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital Raipur have been protesting since November 27 and have stopped offering OPD (outpatient department) services in support of the strike called by Federation of Resident Doctors Association India (FORDA).

They have claimed the delay in admission in post graduate courses had resulted in an increase in workload of resident doctors. “Patient care is our first priority and prime concern. We had withdrawn our service from OPD and routine duty to mark our agitation but continued to work in the emergency care unit till Sunday," Dr Prem Chaudhary, spokesperson of JUDA, told PTI.

The delay in NEET PG counseling and admission of first year junior residents in various hospitals of the country has resulted in shortage of doctors, which has enhanced the workload of a sector that has been carrying out its duties under very tough conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. NEET-PG Counselling Delay: Resident Docs of Delhi's 3 Centre-run Hospitals Boycott Routine Services.

"With the threat of a third wave, we want the healthcare system of our country to be well prepared with adequate numbers of working hands," he added.

The Union government recently put on hold the counseling for NEET-PG 2021 until January next year over some issues and also informed about it to the Supreme Court.

Apart from the counseling issue, which falls within the purview of the Centre, the JUDA has demanded that the Chhattisgarh government hike stipend and reduce the bond period for junior doctors, Dr Chaudhary said.

On November 30, JUDA had handed over a memorandum to Governor Anusuiya Uikey in connection with the demands, he added. The health services at Dr BR Ambedkar Memorial Hospital (BRAMH) are likely to be affected due to the strike as the facility is largely dependent on resident doctors for treatment of patients.

However, BRAMH Medical Superintendent Dr SBS Netam said the services of other doctors, including senior consultants, was being taken to avoid inconvenience to patients, adding that the situation will be reviewed later and workforce deployed accordingly.