The Punjab Civil Medical Services Specialist Doctors’ Association (PCMS-SDA) has decided to call off its strike, which was to start on Friday (November 28), in public interest.
Government doctors had given a call for the strike on November 25 in support of gynaecologist Dr Alka Mittal, who was suspended in connection with the deaths of two newborns and three stillbirths at Mother Child Hospital here on Sunday.
Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal, state president of the association, and Dr Avinash Jindal, Ludhiana unit president, said the strike had been called off after an assurance given by health minister Surjit Kumar Jyani. The doctors held a meeting with the minister through video-conferencing.
Dr Sohal said, “We told the minister that doctors in civil hospitals are overburdened, with meagre paramedical staff to assist them, and the infrastructure is also not comparable to that of big private hospitals.”
Dr Jindal said, “The workload is remarkably high. Also, we are dealing with the poorest section of society and very sick patients, who cannot avail any health facility outside. We requested the minister to keep everything in mind while deciding the present case.”
“The minister assured us that justice would be done, so we called off the strike,” he added.
Dr Davinder Kumar, general secretary of the association’s Ludhiana unit, said the minister had called them for a meeting in Chandigarh in the coming days to address their other long-pending demands.
“So, we have also decided to put off the pen-down strike of all PCMS-SDA doctors that was fixed for November 29,” said Dr Kumar.
Class-4 employee transferred
Kanta Devi, a Class-4 employee at Mother Child Hospital, attached to Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, was transferred on Thursday in connection with the deaths of two newborns and three stillbirths on Sunday.
Gynaecologist Dr Alka Mittal had earlier been suspended in the case, while senior medical officer (SMO) Dr RK Karkara was transferred.
There were complaints against Kanta Devi that she used to perform deliveries herself, including the recent cases. She has been transferred to the Community Health Centre (CHC), Kumkalan.
Dr Subhash Batta, civil surgeon, Ludhiana, who issued the transfer order, said, “The transfer was done in public interest. It is a normal process of the department.” He said the inquiry into the deaths of two newborns and three stillbirths was still in progress.
Meanwhile, the Class-4 employees’ association and the staff nurses’ association of the hospital have called a meeting at 11am on Friday to decide the course of action on Kanta Devi’s transfer.