‘Increase workforce for COVID-19 duty’

‘Doctors are exhausted, overworked and overexposed’

Noting that the existing workforce was exhausted, overworked and overexposed to the COVID-19 infection, the Service Doctors and Post Graduates Association (SDPGA) has urged the Health Department to increase the workforce of doctors and healthcare workers proportionate to the rise in the number of COVID-19 patients.

In a memorandum to the Health Secretary, association president P. Saminathan requested that an adequate quarantine period as in 2020 should be provided for healthcare providers — five days of COVID-19 duty followed by one week of quarantine, COVID-19 testing and return to work based on the results. Proper accommodation and food should be provided for those on COVID-19 duty and quarantine as done last year.

Infection threat

This was because doctors on COVID-19 duty residing in hostels could become a source of cross-transmission among doctors, and if they resided at homes, they could become a risk to their family members, the association said.

The SDPGA sought exemption for doctors with co-morbidities from COVID-19 duties.

Medical interns and non-service post graduates should be recruited on “10 A1 rules basis under timescale” and in future, regularise their services through the Medical Services Recruitment Board, instead of giving them extension or consolidated pay.

The association demanded that the announcements made by the government last year — one month special pay, ₹2 lakh ex-gratia for doctors and healthcare workers who tested positive for COVID-19 and ₹50 lakh for the families of doctors and healthcare workers who died of COVID-19 should be fulfilled immediately.

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