AIIMS nurses strike: Docs return half of patients from emergency wards

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By Ashish Srivastava
New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS)
The ongoing nurses’ strike at AIIMS has come as a nightmare for patients who required immediate medical intervention as doctors at the emergency ward had to return upto 50 per cent of patients on Tuesday due to lack of staff.
The doctors told IANS that they attended to only severely critical patients in the ward.
“The patients who did not require critical medical assistance at the moment were requested to visit other facilities for their treatment. We only treated the patients who came in extremely bad shape,” the chief medical officer (CMO) on duty told IANS.
The other doctors of the ward estimated that patients as high as 50 per cent of the total footfall were told to look for other medical facilities. “We are short-staffed to manage the ward at its full capacity,” a doctor requesting anonymity told IANS.
In the morning, IANS had reported that AIIMS may curtail its emergency services in view of the indefinite strike declared by nursing staff of the premier medical institute.
While there was no official direction from the hospital administration regarding the curtailment of the emergency services, the doctors claimed that it was verbally circulated.
D.K. Sharma, Medical Superintendent (MS) had said that to control the situation, the administration had asked all the junior, resident and senior doctors to double up for the nurses who are currently on agitation over a long list of demands including clarity on salary structure and a freeze on hiring on contract.
Around 5,000 nurses of AIIMS are on the indefinite strike since Monday afternoon against the hospital’s decisions to enroll nursing officers on contractual payroll.
The nurses’ union’s demands include correction of an anomaly in the fixation of the initial pay as per the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC), redressal of issues such as abolishing of gender-based reservation in the recruiting process of nursing officers and contractual appointments, enhancement of hospital accommodation and cadre restructuring.
Currently, a meeting called by AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria with the nurses’ union is underway. The meeting was called after the Delhi High Court restrained the nurses from continuing their indefinite strike.
The immediate decision by All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS) nurses’ union to cease the strike post the meeting with AIIMS director and officials of Union Health Ministry received a huge backlash from the nurses and has forced the union to reconsider its decision.
After the meeting with Director AIIMS and health officials of the Union Health Ministry, the nurses’ union asked its members to call off the strike citing the High Court order. However, the majority of the members refused to budge down their agitation and said that they are ready to go to jail for the contempt of the court’s order but would not end the strike.
The hospital administration alleged on Tuesday that the nurses neither want to work, nor would allow anyone else to work as nursing staff in the hospital.

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