New Delhi: The strike of municipal corporation employees in Delhi over salaries, which entered its seventh day on Wednesday, has left health services in the civic body-run hospitals crippled, besides leaving routine sanitation work in disarray. Around 5,000 resident doctors, 2,000 consultants, 13,200 nurses and other paramedical staff of MCD hospitals have been on strike since Monday. It has resulted in overburdening of Delhi government’s hospitals.
In the latest development, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that he would consider a proposal from the doctors for a government takeover of the hospitals.
All MCD-run hospitals — Girdhari Lal Maternity Hospital at Ajmeri Gate, Kasturba Hospital at Daryaganj, Swami Dayanand Hospital at Dilshad Garden, Hindurao Hospital at Malka Ganj, Balak Ram Hospital located at Timaruur, Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine & Tuberculosis at Mukherjee Nagar and Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital at Pooth Khurd — and over 184 dispensaries run by the city’s civic body have completely closed down their services following the strike.
They have been referring all outdoor patients to different hospitals of the Delhi government, mainly Jawaharlal Nehru and Ram Manohar Lohia hospitals. Only emergency services are being provided in all these hospitals but in the absence of sufficient number of doctors and para-medical staff and unavailability of life saving drugs in the casualty department, critical patients are being referred to other places.
Kasturba Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital, which remain jam packed as compared to other municipal hospitals in the city with thousands of patients, have a deserted look these days. The corridors of Hindu Rao Hospital and Swami Dayanand Hospital, which witness a footfall of around 5,000-6,000 and 4,000-5,000 patients respectively, wear a completely empty look.
“We are not getting our salaries for the past three months. We never got salary in time in the past one year. It has become difficult for us to survive,” Dr RR Gautam, president of Municipal Corporation Doctors’ Association, told Firstpost.
“There is acute shortage of essential drugs for the past one year. Because of shortage of funds, we are not even able to do local procurement. All OPD patients admitted in different MCD hospitals have either been discharged or referred to Delhi government’s hospitals. Only emergency services are opened,” he added.
The doctors are on an indefinite strike following a general body meeting of Municipal Corporation Doctors’ Association, Residents Doctors’ Association and Nurses’ Association which decided to extend support to the United Front of MCD Employees, a common platform leading the protesting doctors, engineers, teachers and sanitation workers of the three corporations.
The strike has left OPDs and emergency sections of Delhi government hospitals overcrowded. However, their administrations claim that they well-equipped to prepare to tackle any situation.
“Our hospital is well-prepared and better than any other hospital of the city. We are in a position to give necessary drugs to many other hospitals if they need and approach us. Our doctors and supporting staff are attending and taking proper care of the patients coming from other hospitals,” Dr Yogesh Kumar Sarin, medical superintendent, LNJP Hospital, told Firstpost.
Dr Amit Anand, chief medical officer, emergency services at LNJP Hospital, said they are overburdened because getting 50% additional footfalls daily in emergency department because of the MCD doctors’ strike.
“We attend around 6,000-7,000 emergency cases everyday on daily basis but because of the strike it has gone up by 50%. All doctors here are doing stretched shifts. It is like a torture,” he said.
Though Dr (Professor) AK Gatpayle, MS, RML Hospital, did not give a specific figure on how many additional patients are coming to his hospital because of the strike, he admitted that the number of patients visiting the hospital everyday has gone up.
“It is not a problem. We are tackling the situation in a better way,” said the doctor, who is also additional director general of health services of the Delhi government.