On Saturday, as Hindu Rao Hospital was being converted into a Covid facility, medical staff and nurses staged a protest outside over alleged lack of infrastructure and delay in salaries. This was the second protest at the hospital, the biggest under the North MCD.
Dr Peeyush, an orthopaedic surgeon, said, “We have not received our salary for two months. The administration didn’t provide us with proper accommodation and transport. I had to ask my relatives to help me with food and stay. There are no clean washrooms or donning rooms here. We wear PPE kits but don’t have proper cooling systems. How can we work like this in this weather?” Nurses alleged that some of them were evicted from their rented accommodations by landlords, but the hospital administration did not help.
A nurse, who did not wish to be identified, said, “We are scared as the hospital doesn’t have adequate infrastructure to deal with Covid patients. When I was evicted, I had to take help from doctors, who spoke to the landlord. The administration keeps saying our salaries will be credited in our account in a day or two. We are waiting. My parents have been very supportive and send me extra money every month.”
Dr Abhimanyu Sardana, president of the Resident Doctors’ Association, said doctors and MCD officials met on Saturday. “ The protest was important as the hospital can’t be converted into a Covid facility without fixing other matters. They are now installing new ACs and repairing some old ones. We have been told salaries will be paid to staffers soon. Two hotels have been booked for doctors and nurses will be accommodated at nearby Fab hotels,” he said. The Delhi government had ordered that the hospital be converted into a Covid facility on June 14. However, doctors said the process was delayed as there was “no segregation and facilities” inside the premises. On Saturday, after the protest, doctors admitted over four Covid patients at the hospital.
North MCD mayor Jai Prakash said, “We agree there were issues but this was because the Delhi government didn’t support us. We couldn’t get money from taxes, stamp duty and other work during the lockdown. We usually get over Rs 500 crore a month but now we only get Rs 200 crore. It was difficult to give salaries to doctors during this time. Now, we have generated enough money to help our healthcare workers. I will inspect the hospital to ensure all requirements are met,” adding, “We took time to convert the hospital as many preparations had to be made. There was paperwork and the salary delay. We had to deal with all this on our own”.
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