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Monday, July 26, 2021

Punjab: Protesting doctors hold parallel OPDs in hospital lawns, bear treatment cost

This was part of their ongoing protest against the recommendations of the state’s sixth pay commission, delinking the NPA from the basic pay and reducing it from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.

By: Express News Service | Ludhiana |
July 16, 2021 5:42:52 am
Doctors attend to OPD patients on the corridor of Civil Hospital in Ludhiana on Thursday. (Express Photo: Gurmeet Singh)

THE GOVERNMENT doctors in Punjab, who are protesting over the issue of non-practicing allowance (NPA), Thursday examined patients at their own cost in the premises of the hospitals even as they boycotted the government outpatient departments (OPDs).

This was part of their ongoing protest against the recommendations of the state’s sixth pay commission, delinking the NPA from the basic pay and reducing it from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.

The doctors had announced to boycott government OPDs from July 15 to July 17 but had also said that parallel OPDs would be run during this period in the lawn of hospitals so that the needy persons are not deprived basic health services.

This decision was taken by the the Joint Government Doctors Coordination Committee (JGDCC), which has members from the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) and is supported by the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association (PSVOA), Rural Medical Officers Association, Punjab Dental Medical Officers Association and Punjab Ayurveda Officers Association.

Medical and veterinary doctors from all over Punjab ran parallel OPDs in hospital premises. The parallel OPDs were run free of cost and the cost of medicines used for the treatment was borne by the doctors “to save people from unnecessary hassle”.

In a statement, PCMSA president Dr Gagandeep Singh and PSVOA president Dr Sarabjit Singh said the joint committee members were called for a meeting with Cabinet Minister Brahm Mohindra.

“During the meeting, the minister assured that the demand of the doctors regarding NPA would be met soon. At the same time JGDCC slammed the lax attitude of the government towards the doctors and once again warned the government that if it did not resolve the issue of NPA immediately then all the medical and veterinary doctors would be forced to go on indefinite strike from Monday,” the doctors said in the the statement issued on behalf of the JGDCC.

Dr Inderveer Singh Gill, convener of the committee, said that doctors across the state treated patients for free by putting up banners of ‘Rosh’ (protest) OPDs in the hospitals.

Dr Sarabdeep Singh, media incharge of the committee, said that as per the decision of the joint committee, the health and veterinary doctors of the state would continue to provide such free OPDs to the patients in the coming days also. He said that during Covid pandemic , doctors were made to work day and night in extremely challenging and difficult conditions, but it was unfortunate that the facilities already available to them were being taken away.

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