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Nurses’ strike pushes back 120 surgeries in Delhi govt hospitals

Around 120 surgeries had to be rescheduled on Friday at Safdarjung and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospitals as nurses went on strike demanding better pay

delhi Updated: Feb 27, 2016 01:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Nurses,Delhi hospitals,All India nurses strike
Nurses on strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday demanding better pay.(Arun Sharma/ HT Photo)

Around 120 surgeries were rescheduled on Friday and only emergency operations were performed at Delhi’s two major hospitals – Safdarjung and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) – because the nurses went on strike against the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.

At Safdarjung Hospital, 25 out of the 30 operation theatres (OTs) were shut and 70 surgeries had to be rescheduled. At RML, 50 routine surgeries were cancelled as 11 out of the 18 OTs remained shut, sources said.

“Even the nurses who want to work are not being allowed inside the hospital. All essential services such as the emergency and ICUs are being handled by the nurses who work on contract, interns and junior doctors. Also, only the emergency OT’s are functional,” said Dr AK Rai, medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital.

Nurses from government hospitals across India took leave on Friday to demand a hike in pay grade, nursing allowance, risk allowance and night-duty allowance.

Around 1,000 nurses were on leave at Safdarjung. The figure was more than 700 at RML, where 600 interns, resident doctors and post graduate students were deputed to handle the 10,000 strong out-patient department and emergency services.

But the over 2,000 nurses at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) called off their strike after discussions with the administration and the Union health secretary.

Medical superintendent Rai said the strike was not justified as the review report on the pay commission recommendations were due.

“This is very premature. Playing with the lives of the patients to get a salary hike even when the recommendations have not been finalised is uncalled for,” he said.

The strike is part of an ongoing protest by nurses that started with a relay hunger strike on February 12. The All India Government Nurses Federation (AIGNF) even threatened to go on indefinite strike from March 15 if their demands were not met.

Their demands include enhancing the entry level pay grade to Rs 5,400 per month from the existing Rs 4,600, increasing the nursing allowance by Rs 7,800 and providing risk allowance and night duty allowances to all nurses like other government employees.

First Published: Feb 26, 2016 17:58 IST