Even as thirteen COVID-19 positive patients were shifted out of Delhi’s Hindu Rao Hospital, resident doctors and nurses at the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) hospital began a strike on Sunday, 11 October, over non-payment of dues for the last four months.
For a few weeks now, around 220 resident doctors and 300 nursing staff have been on strike at the facility, which is a dedicated COVID-19 Hospital.
Out of the 23 patients admitted at the hospital till Saturday, 10 October, 11 were transferred to LNJP, while two were moved to Aruna Asif Ali Hospital. Three patients who are critical, stayed put at the hospital and are being treated by senior doctors. The rest have been discharged.
According to a NDTV report, doctors raised slogans outside the hospital as they held placards reading ‘No Pay, No Work'. One of the doctors said that no pay had forced them to borrow from parents.
“We have rents to pay. At this age we are compelled to call up our parents and seek money from them because despite working for hours constantly our salaries are not being given.”NDTV quoted Dr Jyotsna Prakash as saying.
What Delhi Had Govt Said
After the doctors and nurses threatened to go on a strike, the Delhi government on Saturday had ordered shifting of all COVID-19 patients from Hindu Rao Hospital to its own facilities, said Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain in a media briefing said, “Doctors and staff of Hindu Rao Hospital have called for a strike Sunday onwards. There are COVID-19 patients being treated at the hospital. We have directed that all the patients be shifted to Delhi government hospitals. They can go to any of the hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, whichever is closer,” reported Hindustan Times.
Jain also stated that Hindu Rao staff should be paid their pending salaries.
“If Municipal Corporation of Delhi is not able to run Hindu Rao and Kasturba hospital, then they should hand over them to the state government,” said Jain. The Delhi Health Minister was referring to multiple strikes held by the staff for the non-payment of the salaries, according to Mint.
Earlier, Resident Doctors’ Association President of Hindu Rao hospital Abhimanyu Sardana had written several letters and reminders to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal regarding the non-payment of salaries, reported Indian Express.
“Residents doctors have decided to go for a ‘pen down’ strike every day from 9 am to 12 pm displaying our ordeal; we request you to provide us with a solution promptly. Healthcare workers are frontline COVID warriors providing their valuable services while risking their lives. However, in every compensatory way, the salary should be of high priority and this issue must be addressed,” Sardana wrote.
Resident doctors at Hindu Rao Hospital have resorted to a three-hour daily “symbolic indefinite strike” in response to the non-payment of salaries for the last three months.
According to news agency PTI, Satyendra Jain also mentioned that Delhi has been reporting less than 3,000 daily cases for the last nine days.
Hindu Rao Hospital is the largest municipal hospital in Delhi with 900 beds and is currently dedicated to Coronavirus treatment The hospital has 343 beds for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, reported Hindustan Times.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times, Mint, PTI)