PUNE: Medical interns at Sassoon Hospital have joined the indefinite state-wide interns’ strike demanding a hike in their stipend. The strike caused chaos at the Out Patients Department (OPD) of the hospital as the services got affected. Hundreds of patients were left hapless waiting for treatment as the hospital started facing a shortage of manpower.
MBBS students have to undergo a one-year internship after graduating. The interns claim they are paid meagre stipends for their work.
The interns say they are paid unfairly for the one-year internships for work which is very taxing. Avinash Deshmukh, an intern at Sassoon Hospital said, “As interns, we work for 10 or sometimes even 16 hours a day. We have to go through so much stress serving patients and for this, we are paid Rs 6,000 per month. This is unfair as that amount is not enough for sustenance.”
Deshmukh added, “We do not want an amount that is extravagant. We are not asking for money for enjoyment. We just want to be able to survive with our expenses while we serve the patients. A revised stipend of Rs 11,000 was supposedly decided some time back, but even that was not implemented. In other states, interns are paid almost Rs 15,000 per month.”
The students at the college have supported the strike through an innovative way. “We might be studying now, but we will also be interns someday, which is why this issue is important for us too,” said Parag Patil, an MBBS student, adding, “Tomorrow is also World Blood Donor Day. So on that occasion and to show our support to the strike, we have organised a blood donation camp and donated blood ourselves. We also got 60 other blood donors.”
Deshmukh said, “We have other demands too. Doctors help people recover and are crucial to get medical leave, but a medical intern himself doesn’t get even a single medical leave. We face a lot of threatening situations each day and are prone to diseases. We are made to do bond service for one year with the government after our internship. This hampers our further education.”
“We tried communicating with the government and intimated them about the strike. The government did nothing apart from holding a meeting,” said the interns.