Patients waiting for doctor at a Government Hospital, KeralaDoctors under the Kerala Government have been on a serial agitation for quite some time now. Today, they are on strike for the nth time.

The off and on stir, which began in December 2007 over pay revision, has been disrupting medical services in the State for long. Most of these days, barring some intervals, the doctors were on what they call the “non-cooperation’ or work to rule agitation. Crucial campaigns of the government were held at ransom.

Doctors may have a reason to ask for more especially when the prices are going up. The Government says it cannot revise the pay scales of just one category of government service on preferential basis. Instead, it agreed to pay some additional sums as allowances.

That did not satisfy the doctors. So, they have decided to put the patients at risk. It is high time that the Government either settled or suppressed the strike once for all. The people cannot be victims of perennial strikes.

There also seems to be a game plan by some quarters to keep the medical services in disarray to help the private hospitals. Besides doctors, equipments also strike work in government hospitals so often. Medicines and para medical staff are always in short supply.

The financial stringency of the government will not allow it to increase the salaries of government doctors on par with those in the private sector. The job market today is increasingly becoming competitive. If the doctors feel that they are competitive, they should quit government service and join the private hospital, instead of going on strike. If shortage of doctors in government service becomes acute, the government will increase salaries without the doctors having to launch an agitation. Will the doctors take the challenge instead of trying to undermine the system from within?