Health services at the premier Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh were hit severely as nurses went on mass casual leave on Wednesday morning.
Sources in PGIMER administration said more than 1,000 nurses did not report for work, which led to postponement of surgeries and adversely affected working of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the institute. There are around 1,600 nurses at the institute.
Led by PGIMER nurses' welfare association, the protesting nurses assembled in the lawns near Bhargava auditorium and held a rally as well as raised slogans against the hospital administration, especially medical superintendent Dr AK Gupta. They then marched towards the Sector 25 rally ground at around 10.30am.
"We apologise to the patients and their relatives. It is happening due to the dictatorial attitude of the PGIMER administration. And we were left with no option but to go on mass casual leave," said Lakhvinder Singh, president of PGI nursing association.
However, PGIMER officials said that a special plan had been chalked out to deal with the situation. Redeployment of nursing students and nursing officers, who did not join the strike, was done. "Doctors have mobilised their own staff. Our operation theatres are functioning and emergency services are on," said Manju Wadwalkar, spokesperson of the institute.
The striking nurses are demanding implementation of childcare leave for female nursing staff, a stop on deduction of various allowances admissible to staff members during leave period such as maternity leave and childcare leave etc.