Resident doctors at the Hindu Rao Hospital in Delhi have gone on protest against pending salaries for the last 4 months. The protesting doctors have been joined by the hospitals’ nurses who have not received their dues as well. The protests began after the hospital administration intimated staff members that two more months would be required for clearing off unpaid dues. Protesters allege that the administration block renovation work is being carried out at a time when the management has expressed its inability to pay dues on time.
The protests were held at the main gate of the hospital and doctors have expressed their frustration at not receiving any assistance or the right platform to convey their grievances. The Hindu Rao Hospital is the biggest municipal hospital in the Capital with bed capacity of 900. The state-administered hospital is presently a dedicated facility for treating those affected due to COVID-19. Several healthcare workers here have already contracted coronavirus earlier. Resident doctors have announced that they will not provide emergency and COVID services from Saturday (10th October) onwards.
They have also marched from the facility to the Lieutenant Governor (LG), Anil Baijal’s house on Friday while planning to submit an official memorandum for fixing the problem. The statement by the RDA (Resident Doctors Association) clearly talks about the demotivating and psychologically dispiriting conditions under which frontline workers are providing their service. Doctors have written that they are failing to cover even basic errands or complete their regular routine. Hence, they have decided to stop offering COVID and emergency services likewise.
The doctors and nursing staff have already been holding their symbolic indefinite strike from Monday onwards. They have only provided emergency services while protesting every day for two hours in the mornings. Their salaries have remained unpaid from the month of June onwards. The President of the RDA, Abhimanyu Sardana, has stated that discussions previously took place with North Delhi Municipal Corporation officials and the hospital administration. They were assured of receiving their dues within 60 days. However, it has now gone up to 4 months, casting doubts on basic survival according to him.
Sardana has further stated that this is an affront to the dignity of COVID warriors while their basic remuneration rights have been taken away. The protest is a way of reminding the authorities that doctors are also human beings who require money for shelter and food. He talked of how more than 300 doctors are facing severe problems owing to shortage of funds, particularly since most of them reside in rentals and have to over family responsibilities as well. While they are bound by their oath to serve the public and are striving every day to contain the spread of coronavirus, the government also has a responsibility to look after them according to Sardana. The hospital’s Medical Superintendent has not commented till now while North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash has talked of taking steps to fix the issue.