Resident doctors and nurses of Delhi’s Hindu Rao Hospital have began a strike today over non-payment of salaries for the last four months. For the last several weeks, 220 resident doctors and about 300 nursing staff have stopped working at the COVID-19 dedicated hospital.
The municipal corporation-run hospital has been a Covid dedicated hospital since June and 23 patients were admitted there until yesterday. The Delhi government shifted them to other hospitals as the doctors had announced that they would go on strike from today.
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 civic body has blamed the Aam Aadmi Party government for not paying its dues and has cited fund crunch due to the pandemic for not being unable to pay salaries.
Today, several resident doctors were seen sloganeering and protesting outside the hospital with ‘No Pay, No Work’ placards.
Dr Jyotsna 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 has said that NDMC should handover the hospital to the government if the corporation cannot run it.
Dr Piyush Singh, a resident doctor says delays in payment are a recurring issue.
“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,” Dr Singh said.
Both the Delhi government and the NDMC have not responded to the issue since the strike began. Doctors say they want the politics to stop.
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.
“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,” he says.
Dr Sidharth, 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 tim