The ongoing strike of laboratory technicians has crippled the medical testing services at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, where the number of medical tests conducted has reduced to only 200 from the earlier 1,200-1,500 daily. People from the city and remote areas were left in a tizzy after they were told that their medical tests would not be conducted.
The strike in the entire state started on December 2, with an exception for emergency services for patients with serious problems.
Before the strike, the civil hospital was visited by more than 1,200 patients who were tested for different diseases. Most of the patients are advised urine, blood and other body fluid tests from the laboratory of the hospital. Since the strike, only contractual staff of two members was testing the samples of patients in emergency cases and some other cases.
Teg Bahadur, a resident of Dhandari, who was diagnosed with hepatitis C, waited in front of the laboratory at the hospital for two hours before he was told that no test would be conducted. “I have been waiting here since 10am and its 12 noon but no test is being conducted,” said Bahadur, a worker at a factory, who has no money to spend at a private clinic and is left with no option.
Amandeep Kaur, who had come from Malaud along with her four-year-old son, was also among those left without a medical test. “I had taken an early morning bus to here, only to hear that a test could not be conducted. Doctors have advised that a test should be conducted immediately,” said Kaur.
Dr Seema Chopra, a biochemist at the hospital, said “There has been a severe impact of the strike by lab technicians,” adding, “We are able to conduct only 200 test in a day from 1,200-1,500 tests earlier. Only two contractual assistants are holding tests while at least eight have joined the strike.”
Meanwhile, laboratory technicians on Tuesday protested at the civil surgeon’s office, demanding increase in salary, change of designation to technical officer as per the central government and patient care allowance.
Members of Medical Laboratory Technical Association Ludhiana warned the government if their demands are not met by December 10 they would discontinue even the emergency services.
Jagdish Rana, finance secretary of the association, said all technicians of the state would go on a complete strike from December 10 paralysing even the emergency services.
Sukhwinder Singh, president of the association, said after December 10, there will be no test of blood, urine and body fluids that are used for diagnosis of diseases.