Surgeries, emergency services hit as nurses go on mass leave

At Safdarjung Hospital, 70 routine surgeries had to be rescheduled as 25 out of the 30 operation theatres were shut.

PTI| Updated: Feb 26, 2016, 21:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Nurses across the country went on mass causal leave today protesting against the "retrograde recommendations" of the Seventh Pay Commission and demanding higher wages, forcing rescheduling of over 120 surgeries in Delhi.

Only emergency operations were performed, officials said.

At Safdarjung Hospital here, 70 routine surgeries had to be rescheduled as 25 out of the 30 operation theatres were shut while at RML around 50 routine surgeries had to be rescheduled.

"Contract nurses did not work despite our requests and the student nurses were not allowed to. We did not force anybody to work but instead we roped in around 600 post-graduate, junior residents and senior residents to manage the out-patient department and emergency services.

"There was no law and order problems and there were no complaints from patients," said A K Gadpayle, Medical Superitendent of RML Hospital.

At Safdarjung Hospital, essential services such as the emergency and ICUs are being handled by the nurses who work on contract, interns and junior and senior doctors.

"70 routine surgeries had to be rescheduled as 25 out of the 30 operation theatres were shut," said A K Rai, Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital.

Nurses of AIIMS, who had earlier agreed to be a part of the protest, called off their strike following discussions with the Union Health Secretary and AIIMS administration.

Members of All India Nurses Federation observed the mass casual leave as part of their ongoing agitation for a hike in their salaries and other allowances.

They have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from March 15 if their demands were not met.

"We are protesting against the retrograde recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. We are demanding that the entry pay grade for staff nurses should be enhanced to Rs 5,400 from the existing Rs 4,600. Also the nursing allowance should be enhanced by Rs 7,800. Risk allowance and night duty allowances should be given to all nurses as it is given to all other government employees," Federation's Secretary General G K Khurana said.

Nurses across the country are already on a relay hunger-strike since February 12 which will conclude tomorrow.