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Medical doctors in India are on strike: a moral and national conundrum
  1. Karthikeyan P Iyengar1,
  2. Vijay Kumar Jain2,
  3. Raju Vaishya3
  1. 1 Orthopaedics, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Southport, UK
  2. 2 Orthopaedics, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences & Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, Delhi, India
  3. 3 Orthopaedics, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vijay Kumar Jain, Orthopaedics, New Delhi 110001, Delhi, India; drvijayortho{at}

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Health services across north New Delhi, the capital city of India, have come to a standstill over the last week, with doctors from Hindu Rao Hospital going on an indefinite hunger strike since 23 October 2020 amid a global health crisis due to COVID-191 in response to unpaid wages. Similar non-payment of salary for the last 16 months led Karnataka doctors to strike in July 2020.

Strikes by medical doctors in India are not unknown but these seem to have become a moral and national problem. Increasing reports of violence against doctors, fear of being sued and inadequate security provided to doctors in hospitals have traditionally been the causes of regional or national strikes.2–4 COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated violence against doctors and healthcare workers.5 Apart from violence against the doctors, increasing reservation in the jobs based on caste or social status, dispute in monetary allowances, administrative problems, lack of infrastructure and stringent medical regulations have become fundamental causes of strikes in the recent past in government-run hospitals and institutions of India. Recently, unavailability, including defective personal protective equipment and N95 masks, has led many doctors to go on strike in despair against the unsafe working conditions …

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  • Contributors KPI was involved in writing the original draft of manuscript, literature search, planning, conduct and editing. VKJ was involved in conceptualisation, literature search, review and editing. RV supervised the project, edited and finalised the manuscript. All authors approved the final draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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