OPD services were partially hit at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, on Tuesday as junior resident doctors went on an indefinite strike, demanding implementation of the central residency scheme with stipends in accordance with central regulations.
As a result, patients experienced longer-than-usual waiting time, especially outside the general medicine and surgery OPDs. There was, however, no significant disruption to emergency and other services.
Mamta Devi, 56, who was waiting outside the general medicine ward, said, “I came here because of chest pain. It took twice as long as usual as there was a significant crowd outside the OPD when I got here.”
Kashmir Chand, another patient, said, “I had to wait for two hours outside the medicine OPD before I was called in.”
The junior resident doctors, who will remain on strike on Wednesday too, are demanding implementation of the central residency scheme, which includes higher stipend, leaves and other benefits. They are currently being paid according to the Punjab pay scale.
Resident doctors’ association president Dr Simran Kaur Sethi said, “We have been getting verbal assurances for the past several days. The file moved forward after our intimation of the strike. We want written approval; till we get it, 240 junior resident doctors will remain on strike.”
“We don’t want to hamper patient care. We were on silent protest for the past several days but nothing has happened. We have finally decided to stop providing non-emergency services. If the situation remains unchanged, we will shut emergency services too,” added Dr Simran Sethi.
GMCH-32 director principal Dr Jasbinder Kaur said, “I got a message from the health secretary this morning about the status of the file. I had a meeting with the junior residents and apprised them about the status and requested them not to go on strike.”
The Chandigarh administration has held a series of meetings to discuss the demands of resident doctors over the last week. According to a statement, in pursuit of a swift resolution, the note in file for stipend enhancement was revised after discussion with the finance department. The revised file has been submitted to the finance department. Hindustan Times