Crippling medical services at Government Medical College and rajindra Hospital further, contractual nurses and paramedical staff observed complete strike on Wednesday to demand regularisation of their jobs.
Contractual nurses, who have been on strike since October 10, were earlier boycotting only evening and night shifts. However, on Wednesday, they decided to stay away from the morning shifts as well, paralising clinical facilities, with the wards being the worst-hit.
The agitators also blocked traffic on the Sangrur-Patiala road for two hours and carried out sloganeering against the hospital and state health department authorities for not fulfilling their demands over the past seven years.
Apart from wards, services at the emergency department, intensive care unit (ICU), labour room, laboratory, intensive coronary care unit (ICCU) and out patient department (OPD), and dressing room facilities and operation theatres were severely affected.
Sources said that the hospital employed 100 regular staff nurses, nearly 620 contractual nurses and around 500 paramedical staff.
A senior doctor said though hospital authorities had made temporary arrangements by deploying nursing students and interns in wards and other departments, they could not do justice to the tasks allotted to them due to lack of training.
“Doctors cannot entrust tasks like administrating injections and applying drips to first or second year students, as they have no idea how to do it. Besides, many interns did not attend the night shift, which paralysed services in many wards,” he added.
A senior doctor at the emergency department said they were left with no option other than to refer patients to other hospitals after giving them first aid or have left with no option than to refer patients, who approached emergency, to other hospital after giving them proper first aid or other necessary treatment.
“This is sheer mismanagement on the part of the hospital authorities, who failed to make alternative arrangements for the duration of the strike. The problem is more severe at night, when attendents can be seen approaching nurses from other wards for assistance,” alleged Balbera village resident Gurbax Kaur.
However, college principal KD Singh claimed that they had made arrangements to deal with the crisis and provide uninterrupted medical facilities to the patients.
“We have already deployed nursing students, trainee nurses and interns on general duties, and they have been asked to work round-the-clock,” he claimed, adding that nearly 150 interns and 350 junior residents were already working in various departments and providing emergency services.
Nursing and para-medical employees' association president Karamjeet Kaur Aulakh alleged that in spite of assurances from state government that their jobs would be regularised after three years of contractual services, nothing has been done for the past seven years.
“Notwithstanding their continuous services, they were paid only `7,500 per month, which is not sufficient at all,” she alleged, adding that they were not given any medical expenses in case of illness or medical emergencies, and they had had to bear all medical expenses in spite of being hospital employees.
“Nothing concrete came out during our meeting with senior health department officials on Tuesday, after which we decided to boycott work completely,” she said.
However, KD Singh said the association members on Tuesday met medical education and research department principal secretary Vini Mahajan, who asked them to prepare a seniority list and assured them that their services would be regularised on the basis of vacancies available in the hospital.
Contractual nurses: 620
Staff nurses: 100
Contractual paramedical employees: 500
Regular paramedical employees: 60
Junior residents: 350
Trainee nurses from various colleges: More than 300
Interns and nursing graduates from Rajindra Nursing College: 100
Total admissions: 550 patients per day
Outdoor patient department registrations: 1,200 per day