Backing the protest by doctors in Rajasthan for higher pay, promotion and changes in shifts, the doctors’ body at AIIMS on Saturday invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “live” a government doctor’s life for a day to understand their stress and helplessness and also take note of the “dying healthcare system”. In a letter to Modi, dated December 23, the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) has also urged him to understand the tremendous pressure on the doctors at government hospitals due to the poor infrastructure and misbehaviour of patient’s kin during emergency situations.The letter comes after several doctors in Rajasthan were arrested as the state government invoked the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA) for three months after the doctors warned of indefinite strike in support of their demands.

However, before the start RESMA could start, the Rajasthan government began randomly arresting doctors from different districts of the state. “Rajasthan doctors are on strike from December 16, this strike is helplessness rather than intentional because the state government arrested 86 doctors by imposing RESMA,” read the letter. “Their demands were previously accepted by the Rajasthan government but now they refuse to fulfil them resulting in mistrust and anguish among the hardworking doctors. Please instruct the Rajasthan government to stand on their promises and stop all atrocities against doctors.” Stating that all the doctors were feeling “insulted” after the treatment meted out to doctors in Rajasthan, the RDA sought Modi’s immediate intervention.

“We are lucky to have an active PM like you… Now RDA AIIMS requests you to put (on) white apron and spend one day as a government doctor to understand the tremendous amount of pressure we face, the agony of patients who did not get treatment, the dying healthcare system due to lack of resources and infrastructure. “It will also set an example to ministers who put false allegations on doctors for cheap publicity,” the letter said. “Your one day as a government doctor can be a turning point for the healthcare system as it will restore faith in the medical profession and some constructive measures to improve healthcare access and delivery,” said the letter quoting Harjit Singh Bhatti, President RDA.