Punjab: Health services hit as government doctors go on strike
Health services were affected in Punjab on Friday as government doctors went on a day-long strike against the recommendations of the state's sixth pay commission related to the non-practicing allowance as well as pension benefits. Outpatient department (OPD) services remained suspended in the various government hospitals in Punjab, with doctors at many places holding demonstrations.
Emergency services and COVID-19 related work unaffected: Doctor
"However, all emergency services, COVID-19 related work, including duty of doctors in isolation wards, and vaccination continued as usual," Dr. Gagandeep Singh, President of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association, told PTI over the phone.
Doctors were protesting against decisions on pay and allowance
The strike call was given by the Joint Punjab Government Doctors Coordination Committee, which has members from the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association and is supported by the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association, Rural Medical Officers Association, Punjab Dental Medical Officers Association, and Punjab Ayurveda Officers Association. "We are against the decision to decrease non-practicing allowance and delinking NPA from basic pay," Singh said.
OPDs, online consultations, elective surgeries were affected
"Besides, we are also objecting to the formula which they have used to calculate pension benefits," Singh said. Asked what medical services have been affected amid the strike, Singh said, "OPDs, elective surgeries, official work, online consultations, these have been suspended in all government hospitals across Punjab - from district hospitals to subsidiary health centers and in all ayurvedic dispensaries and homeopathic clinics."
The work in veterinary hospitals is also suspended: Singh
"The work in veterinary hospitals is also suspended," he said. Singh said that in medical colleges in the state OPD and elective surgeries remained suspended. "Dental OPDs also remained closed in government hospitals and health centers," he said.
Employees are against the formula used for calculating pay increase
The Punjab Government had on Thursday set up an oversight committee of ministers to resolve grievances of state government employees. The state government employees on Wednesday had gone on a five-day pen-down strike against the recommendations of the sixth pay commission. The employees were objecting to the formula used in the calculation of pay increase.
Decision on sixth pay commission recommendations was taken last week
On Wednesday, the doctors also submitted memorandums to Deputy Commissioners across the state in order to lodge their protest. The Punjab Government last week had decided to implement a majority of the recommendations of its sixth pay commission with effect from January 1, 2016, a move that will benefit over five lakh serving and retired employees.