Protesting doctors halt afternoon services at TUTH
KATHMANDU, June 22: Doctors at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) have halted all afternoon services from Friday demanding merit-based recruitment in the vacant posts at the Institute of Medicine (IoM) and action against IoM officials implicated in irregularities.
Hundreds of patients were inconvenienced after doctors who had stopped the extended paying services offered at the hospital since Monday, halted even the cheaper afternoon services from Friday.
The agitating doctors, who have announced a series of protest programs, met with Vice-chancellor (VC) Hira Bahadur Maharjan who has been sitting on the issue, at Tribhuvan University (TU) Friday morning. "Around 100 of us reached VC office at 11 in the morning. We returned after we were told that VC would reach his office only at four in the afternoon," Dr Modnath Marahatta said. The doctors have threatened to halt all services, except emergency, from June 25 if their demands are not met.
"Halting services was a difficult choice for us. We are also planning to stage sit-in in front of the VC´s office," said Professor Dinesh Bikram Pokharel, chairman of University Teachers´ Association, at Maharajgunj Campus.
The standoff has also disrupted all the classes at the Maharajgunj Campus since Monday.
Senior professor at TUTH Dr Govinda KC has said he would stage fast unto death again if the demands are not met by June 25. Dr KC had started a fast unto death on May 14 but ended it the same evening after TU, under instruction from Prime Minsiter Dr Baburam Bhattrai, instituted a search committee to select three candidates based on merits.
The search committee that was given a three-week mandate wrote to VC Maharjan on June 1 seeking term extension after being unable to complete its work. VC Maharjan has yet to extend the committee´s deadline. Maharjan refused to talk to Republica on the issue Friday.
Spokesperson at the Education Ministry Janardan Nepal said the ministry cannot do much about the issue. "We know about the protests by the doctors but we are just the line ministry and we don´t make appointments at the TUTH. TU makes the appointments and it has to tackle the issue," spokesperson Nepal said.
Six top positions at IoM, including that of dean, have remained vacant for the past eight months. Dr KC and other doctors have also been demanding action against the IOM officials charged of irregularities by the Jayaram Giri-led committee formed after the 17-day strike at TUTH in March 2010.
Dr Arun Sayami, who was dean at IoM when the students went on strike, still holds the office even though his term has ended while Assistant Campus Chief of Maharajgunj Campus Dr Krishna Bahadur Oli is serving as the campus chief now.