Vijayawada: Government doctors in Andhra Pradesh, under the banner Andhra Pradesh Government Doctors' Association (APGDA), have threatened to boycott COVID-19 duties over harsh treatment from administration officials.
Expressing their displeasure with the attitude of IAS officers in the state during the pandemic, the APGDA, led by state convener Dr. D. Jayadheer, wrote to the chief secretary Nilam Sawhney on 9 July.
In the letter, he mentioned the recent incident in Srikakulam district where the district collector, during a meeting with medical officers and registered medical practitioners (RMP), had requested RMPs to treat COVID-19 patients. This is against medical ethics and the APGDA has complained to the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Union health ministry.
The APGDA also mentioned another incident in Ongole in Prakasam district. The district medical and health officer (DMHO) was made to stand in the corner of a hall when he was a few minutes late to a review meeting held by the joint collector of the district.
In other instances, the joint collector and trainee IAS officers had humiliated Anantapur district DMHO and made him stand in his chamber and abused him for COVID-related issues. In spite of best efforts, the superintendent of Srikakulam and Nellore hospitals were forced to go on leave by concerned district authorities, the association alleged.
Video conferences, teleconferences, and the introduction of apps are also taking a toll on the doctors during the pandemic, the doctors alleged. All doctors have been forced to attend two video conferences a week by block-level officers. The association suggested that review meetings be held once in 15 days to enable the doctors to use their time to treat patients.
A 100 per cent immunisation is impossible with limited manpower during the pandemic, they added. Uploading information in the apps introduced by the government is time-consuming and tedious, Dr. Jayadheer said in the three-page letter.
He said doctors should be treated with respect and dignity. Otherwise, they will boycott their duties. "Kindly manage with administrators from other departments and specially recruited COVID-19 doctors designated to treat COVID-19 patients," he wrote, adding they wanted to work in an environment that is congenial and in coordination with all other departments.
Dr. Jayadheer said they have lost three doctors because of COVID-19 and so far no compensation has been announced for their families. He lamented that the government was not bothered about the families of the three doctors and demanded Rs. 1 crore compensation for each bereaved family.