Doctors from six hospitals and several dispensaries run by the north and the east municipal corporations on Saturday joined the municipal employees’ strike under a united front.
With the strike sending 2,000 consultants, 5,000 resident doctors and 13,000 nurses off service, the Delhi government hospitals are likely to get overburdened.
“We have shut down all OPDs. Earlier, whenever we went on strike, at least a few clinics were run by consulting doctors. But now even they are protesting with us,” said Dr Aditya Gupta, president of the resident doctors’ association at Hindu Rao hospital, the biggest hospital run by the MCD.
He said they were referring all patients to Delhi government-run hospitals.
“In the wards, we have discharged all the patients who were not critical and we are not taking any new admissions. Even in the emergency ward, we are treating only the critical patients,” he said.
“We thought the government would soon take some action and we wouldn’t have to inconvenience the patients. But we decided to go on a complete strike from today when we lost all hope,” said Dr RR Gautam, president, MCD Consulting Doctors’ Union.
The strike is likely to affect over 20,000 people who go to the out-patient departments and around 2,000 admissions in Hindu Rao Hospital, Rajan Babu Tuberculosis Hospital, Kasturba Gandhi Hospital, Girdhari Lal Hospital, Infectious Diseases Hospital and Swami Dayanand Hospital.
“I hurt my little finger while playing cricket. It looks like it is broken. But the guard outside the emergency ward told me that doctors were unavailable because of the strike,” said Ravi Kumar (23), a resident of Malkaganj who had gone to the Hindu Rao Hospital.
The doctors demanded the unification of the three MCDs and a permanent solution to the current salary problem.
The doctors’ association even went to the Central Administrative Tribunal in December, and the court directed the MCD to pay the salaries by December 31. On non-payment of salaries, the association filed a case of contempt.