Doctors and nursing staff of Hindu Rao Hospital in Delhi have begun a strike, starting from today, over the non-payment of salaries for the last four months. The hospital is dedicated to treating patients of the coronavirus. Since the last few weeks, around 200 resident doctors and 300 nurses have stopped working at the hospital.
The hospital is run by the municipal corporation. It has been a COVID-19 dedicated hospital since June. Around 23 patients were admitted in the hospital until yesterday. The Delhi Government decided to shift these patients to other hospitals as the staff had announced to go on strike.
11 patients were transferred to LNJP hospital, two to Aruna Asif Ali Hospital and three were retained as they are critical and being cared for by senior doctors. Rest of the patients have been discharged.
Hindu Rao Hospital is run by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). The NDMC has blamed Aam Aadmi Party for the non-payment of their dues and cited fund crunch due to the pandemic for not being able to pay the salaries of the doctors and the nursing staff.
Several doctors were seen protesting today outside the hospital with slogans and “No Pay, No Work” placards.
Dr Jyotsana Prakash, a resident doctor, told NDTV, “ 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."
Delhi's Health Minister, Satyender Jain told that the NDMC should handover the hospital to the Government if they are unable to operate it smoothly.
Another resident doctor, Dr Piyush Singh said that the issue of non-payment of salaries is a recurring issue. He said, “"For 11-12 days we have been protesting yet we have got no clarity about when our salaries will be given out. They keep saying that you take the pay for one month and get back to work. How is that a solution? Such delays are a recurring issue and have been repeatedly raised to the authorities but there is no permanent resolution.”
Neither the Delhi Government nor the NDMC has responded to the growing issue since the strike began. The doctors are demanding the authorities to stop playing politics.
Dr Abhimanyu Sardana, President of the Resident Doctors Association of Hindu Rao Hospital says his patients are his priority but non-payment of salaries is hampering his work.
Dr Abhimanyu Sardana says, “We don't want to be treated like a volleyball between AAP and BJP. As a doctor I always want to give my 100 per cent to my patients but I am becoming deficient now as I am not being paid my salary. I don't care who runs the hospital. My priority are my patients and I should be able to help them.”
The General Secretary of the association added, “We need the community to come together to support us. The public pressure on our elected representatives need to mount and only then there will be action. As responsible citizens, people should call up their local MLA and ask why the doctors are not being paid on time.”