A six-month pregnant woman, Manju, a resident of Tajpur Road, came for a regular check up at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital on Wednesday at 10.45 am. While she was waiting for her turn, she came to know at 11am that doctors will see her after 1pm as they were going on a strike.
This happened not only with Manju, but also with all the other patients waiting for their turn in long queues at the hospital. Some of them had come from the far-flung areas. As a result, they had to wait for two more hours. Many patients, who were admitted at night and needed surgery or medical attention, had to wait for their treatment till the strike was over.
Nanak Chand, a Shimlapuri resident, had fallen from stairs, got a big cut on his face and was brought to emergency at 9pm on Tuesday. His mother and other relatives were found wandering here and there in search of a surgeon during the strike hours. Nanak was taken to the operation theatre (OT) at 1pm after the strike was over.
The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) specialists doctors association observed the pen-down strike from 11am to 1pm in support of their long-pending demands.
District president of the association Dr Avinash Jindal said, "We do not want to harass patients, but we were left with no other option. The government should resolve our issues and give us assurance to fulfill our long-pending demands."
State president of the association Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal said, "The government has full focus on creating new infrastructure, but they hardly think about providing human resource in terms of doctors, nurses and equipment for the hospital. Doctors are fighting for their rights, but the government has been evading to discuss the issue."
Senior medical officer, civil hospital, Dr Parvinderpal Singh Sidhu said, "The strike was in our knowledge and thus, we were prepared to deal with the issue. Emergency was open all the time and no serious patient was left unattended even during the strike hours."
Demands of PCMS specialist docs
+ Implementation of notification of April 1989 for formation of separate specialists cadre by which pay of specialists and joint director has been increased
+ Withdrawal of recent notification by which non-practicing allowance (NPA) of PCMS doctors doing post graduation has been stopped
+ Recruitment of medical officers (general) on full pay, instead of basic pay
+ Increase in academic allowance in proportion to inflation since 1988 to 5% of the basic pay
+ Conveyance allowance to all and conveyance allowance at 15% of basic pay
+ To give risk allowance at 10% of basic pay
+ Stoppage of interference of non-technical officers in working of PCMS officers
+ Allow attending one national specialty conference every year with full TA, DA air travel registration fee and one international conference every three year with same privileges and paid leave
+ Create one full-fledged human resource wing for the department with members from all specialties to formulate posting and skill-enhancement policies
+ Transfer and posting policy should be clearly defined and put up in public domain and merit should be the only criteria.