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Junior doctors strike cripple emergency services, eight dead

Emergency services remained crippled at government-run hospitals on Saturday across the State following the strike of nearly 3,000 junior doctors demanding increase in their stipend.

The strike has led to the death of at least eight patients in three hospitals. While six deaths were reported from the emergency ward of Gandhi Hospital, one patient each succumbed in Visakhapatnam and Kurnool since Friday night.

However, Medical and Health Minister Kondru Murali denied the reports and claimed that all deaths were ‘regular in nature’ and no one has died due to the strike. He described the death reports as ‘media creation’.

Talking to reporters at the State Secretariat here on Saturday, the Health Minister said that alternate arrangements have been in all 10 teaching hospitals to ensure that the patients do no suffer due to the strike. He said that the government would not increase the stipend, as being demanded by the junior doctors. He reiterated that the government would not hold any negotiations with the junior doctors until they withdraw their strike.

Meanwhile, the cabinet sub-committee on junior doctors would meet on Saturday evening to take stock of the situation.

It may be mentioned that the junior doctors are on strike for the last three weeks demanding 40 percent hike in stipend and reduction in the compulsory service in rural areas from three years to one year. However, the State Government has agreed to increase the stipend by 15 per cent. Later, the government even refused to talk to the junior doctors until they withdraw their strike.

Accusing the government of being non-responsive to their demands, the junior doctors boycotted emergency services since Friday evening. (INN)

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