SKIMS comes to standstill as doctors strike enters day two
Surgeries postponed, patients returned without getting treated
Srinagar: The patient care at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura continued to take a hit for the second consecutive day on Saturday as the resident doctors are persisted with the indefinite strike demanding removal of pay anomaly.
More than 500 resident doctors have remained off their duties demanding the restoration of their pay bands that were slashed by the authorities in 2001. The protesting doctors are also insisting on timely release of their arrears that are pending since January 2001.
With doctors remaining off their duties, the patient care at the premier hospital has taken a hit with only consultants remaining to take care of the huge patient rush thronging the hospital. On Friday, several surgeries and high-end procedures were also delayed, which were further delayed on Saturday also.
While talking to ‘Kashmir Vision’, President Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA), SKIMS, Dr Zubair Ahmad said that they are demanding the restoration of their pay band which was slashed in 2001 and the implementation of 7th pay commission.
“Till 1999 it was all fine, the resident doctors were being paid at par with national health institutions like that of AIIMS, but the authorities slashed the pay band in 2001, and since then we are demanding what is rightfully ours, which is continuously being denied,” he said.
The junior residents at SKIMS are getting monthly stipend between Rs 48,000 and Rs 50,000 and the senior residents get a monthly stipend between Rs 53,000 and Rs 56,000. As per RDA, the resident doctors in AIIMS and PGI get a monthly stipend 100 per cent more that what they are getting.
RDA says that it was only after they announced a strike that the authorities pay any heed to our demands, otherwise they just turn a deaf ear towards our genuine demands.
“In 2009 we had to go on strike for 22 days, it was after such a long strike that we were given some benefits, and were assured that our all other demands will be met, however, since then, nothing has been done,” said Dr Zubair.
The RDA is alleging that instead of reaching out to us and start negotiations regarding our demands, the authorities are using ‘pressure tactics’ and are running away from the real issue.
Director SKIMS, Dr Omar Javiad Shah while talking to ‘Kashmir Vision’, said that the file has been sent to the Chief Minister’s office and there are chances that the matter will be resolved by Monday.
“The file has been sent to Honorable CM’s office for final call and it should all be sorted out by Monday,” he said.
While urging the doctors to resume their duties, he said “there are other ways to lodge a protest, but they should not have resorted to strike, which is directly affecting the patient care at the hospital.”
“The doctors don’t want patient care to suffer, however, the strike is our only option to press for the demands that are lying pending since years,” President RDA said, adding, “instead of reaching out to us and making efforts to settle down the issues, the administration is using pressure tactics in order to make us call off the strike.”
RDA, so far seems not to be in a mood to call of the strike, and says that they are going to continue with the strike till their demands are not met.
“This time we want our demands to be resolved once for all, and till then we are not going to call off our strike,” he said.
While the terming the situation around volatile, Dr Shah said “anything can happen anytime and now that they are on strike, (who) is going to take responsibility of anything that might come up.”
“Now that it should be all done by Monday, the doctors should call of their strike by now,” he suggested.
Meanwhile, the SKIMS Faculty Forum Saturday appealed the RDA to call off their strike saying that the prevailing situation in the valley precludes any move that directly and adversely affects the patient care in the only tertiary care of the state where patient throng from far flung areas for treatment.
“In the interest of patient care we advise the residents to call off the strike and help the poor patients visiting SKIMS,” said Executive Secretary, SKIMS Faculty Forum, Dr Sameer Naqash.