On Wednesday, 23-year-old Aditya Kumar hurriedly left his house at 7 am to reach Lok Nayak hospital on time, to get radiotherapy done for his knee joint. Kumar was diagnosed with knee tumour last week, and has been advised to undergo radiotherapy for a few weeks. Walking with a stick in hand, Kumar was left disappointed after his treatment was left midway by a doctor, due to the ongoing strike by medical practitioners at various government hospitals in the capital.
“They made a mark on my knee where the radiotherapy was supposed to be given. But after making a ‘cross’, they left the room and told me to come back again tomorrow,” said Kumar, a resident of Hari Nagar, while heading home.
He was among the patients who were left in the lurch, as over 3,000 resident doctors from hospitals such as Lok Nayak, Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB), Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU), Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar and others, went on a strike Wednesday, demanding immediate implementation of salary payment as per the Seventh Central Pay Commission. The strike was later called off on Wednesday evening, after authorities assured that the salaries of the doctors would be revised.
Patients gathered outside the gate of Lok Nayak hospital, after the administration reduced the timings of Out Patient Department (OPD) on Wednesday from 8 am-1 pm to 8-11 am. “This was done to facilitate the patients. We did not want them to suffer, hence timings were changed only for today,” said Dr Kishore Singh, medical director of Lok Nayak hospital.
Sixty-year-old Shameem sat outside room number 115 on the first floor of GTB Hospital, hoping that the doctor would arrive. Shameem suffered an injury to her breast, which soon got swollen. She was operated upon on December 4, and was visiting the hospital for a follow-up. “I will have to come back on Friday, as the doctors treating my case are available only on Wedesday and Friday. After surgery, the injury needs to be treated carefully to avoid further infections,” she said.
After meeting with officials from the University Grants Commission (UGC), the doctors called off the strike in the evening. “The Seventh Pay Commission has been implemented in Delhi government hospitals. The salaries of resident doctors will be upgraded accordingly. We have been assured the new salary structure will be upgraded in the next 15 days,” said Dr Anand Kumar Chopra, Vice- President of Federation of Resident Doctors Association, an umbrella body of resident doctors working for the welfare of doctors.