With the 2000-odd Post Graduate institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) nurses scheduled to go on strike on Friday surgeries have been postponed, OPD timings curtailed and people requested not to visit the institute.
Health departments of adjoining states, too, have been requested to not refer critical patients to PGI on February 26 – the day of the strike.
The nurses are going on a day-long strike to join a protest called by the All India Nurses Federation.
The PGI Nurses Welfare Association announced that nurses will be joining the strike by taking a mass casual leave for a day — from 8am on February 26 to 8am on February 27.
PGIMER has cancelled all planned and routine surgeries, which go up to 200 a day (around 60 major and 150 minor surgeries). The OPD registration timings have also been curtailed from 8am to 9:30am – on a normal day registration goes till 11am.
The institute, however, will try to manage critical patients admitted using the assistance of nearly 450 nursing students from NINE. At any given point, nearly 500 patients are admitted in the emergency ward while 200 patients are present in the Advanced Trauma Centre.
Dr YK Chawla, director, PGIMER said, “We are going to take help from nursing college students and the ones who are senior will help doctors in ICUs and emergencies. We will also request all other hospitals in Chandigarh and adjoining states to not refer cases for at least a day.”
Chawla also appealed to the public to not visit PGIMER on Friday. “We appeal to the public at large that they postpone their visit to the PGI OPD and Emergency unless it is an extreme emergency,” said Manju Wadwalkar, public relations officer, PGIMER.
A similar situation had arisen in 2012 when nurses went on mass casual leave for a day. They had presented 17 demands out of which 13 were accepted by the administration.
This time, the protest is with regard to the implementation of the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission as only provisional pay fixation has been done for nurses whereas all other employees have been given a new salary scale.
“The association will take part in all actions called by the federation at an all-India level. The PGI administration has also not accepted the demand to frame a 6-hour duty roster for the newly-recruited nurses in the PGI,” Lakhvinder Singh, president of the association, said.
However as per officials, in AIIMS Delhi, nurses have called off their strike, “I spoke to someone in the AIIMS administration, who informed that the strike has been called off,” Dr YK Chawla said.
PGIMER director’s message-
Dr YK Chawla said, “The reputation of the institute should not get tarnish by the strike and related issues. They should all meet and solve it in a peaceful manner by sitting across the table and discussing it. They can just sit and discuss the problems, rather than going on strike and creating problems for everyone.”