June 20, 2020 1:34:33 am
At a time when government and private hospitals are offering higher salaries to retain medical professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic, resident doctors at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial Central Railway Hospital claimed their stipends had been reduced since February. The hospital administration, doctors said, had not notified them about the 20-30 per cent pay cut.
The over 200-bedded hospital, managed by the Central Railway, has around 30 resident doctors who are paid monthly stipends.
On Friday, a junior resident doctor at the gynaecology department said the pay cuts had begun from February itself. “Anything between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 is being deducted from the stipend of different doctors. This pay cut is only for resident doctors, not others. We have reached out to the medical director, but have received no response so far,” she said.
The Byculla-based hospital has been treating suspected Covid-19 patients and subsequently shifting anyone testing positive for the virus to Jagjivram hospital. Resident doctors said they have operated upon several Covid-19 positive patients and were on call 24 hours in case of emergencies.
“All suspected Covid-19 patients are managed by us. We are working over the scheduled duty hours,” the resident doctor said.
Another resident doctor, also from the gynaecology department, said, “We are not even demanding a hike in salary even though several hospitals are paying their doctors more. All we are demanding is to paid the salary we have been promised.”
Resident doctors at the hospital are under a three-year contract, and their stipend range between Rs 70,000 and Rs 80,000. Since February, they have been facing monthly cuts by 20-30 per cent.
A doctor whose stipend was cut by 28.5 per cent said they were not issued any notice before the deductions were introduced. “There have been discussions in the Central Railway over a reduction in stipend. But we were never informed of any decision,” she said. She has collected her salary slips and sent it to hospital authority but got no response.
Central Railway spokesperson Shivaji Sutar said they have been notified about the matter “through a social media post”.
“They should first reach out to the head of department and hospital authority with their grievance. We are also looking into the matter,” Sutar said.
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