Funds released but docs won’t end stir till salary is credited
After a day-long strike by doctors at the Hindu Rao Hospital over non-payment of their salaries by the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the civic agency on Monday evening said that they have received an amount of Rs. 206.5 crore from the Delhi government.
The civic agency said the money would temporarily help the corporation tide over its current financial crisis.
Resident doctors at the Hindu Rao Hospital on Malka Ganj Road -- who completely shut down work on Monday for not getting salaries for three months -- said they would continue the strike till their salaries are credited into their accounts.
After holding ‘pen down strikes’ for few hours last week, around 450 junior doctors and senior doctors -- all contractual staff -- sat down on a dharna on Monday . They raised slogans and waved placards against the corporation and Delhi government.
The hospital administration managed to keep the hospital functional by diverting 500 medical officers and specialists from other departments to the out-patient departments (OPDs) which run from 9 am to 1 pm. Nurses at the hospital had also gone on strike on May 10 as their salaries were pending for two months.
“An amount of Rs. 206.5 crore has been transferred to our (north municipality) account by the Delhi government as the Basic Tax Assignment (BTA). We have released the money for the doctors’ salaries, and the hospital’s Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO) shall distribute the same at the earliest,” said Varsha Joshi, commissioner, North Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
“We will wait and see what happens,” said Dr. Rahul Choudhary, president, Resident Doctors Welfare Association (RDA), Hindu Rao Hospital.
Resident doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) also came to express solidarity with the agitating doctors on Monday.
“The authorities must realise that healthcare service is not voluntary or charitable but professional. Their working conditions are anyway very poor and now, with salaries being held back, their living condition is deteriorating. They don’t have money to pay for rent and food now,” said Dr. Harjeet Singh Bhatti, a resident doctor at AIIMS.
On Monday, patients suffered as chemists at the hospital deemed prescriptions from agitating doctors who held a “parallel OPD for incoming patients” invalid. “I got my wife checked from these doctors who are holding an OPD under a pink tent. But the chemist told me the prescription is invalid and I must go to the official OPD to get subsidised medicines,” said Ramesh Kumar.