Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No hike, so pvt hospital doctors strike work

The resident doctors at three of Max Healthcare hospitals two in Saket and one in Patparganj went on strike on Tuesday demanding a hike in salary. The issue caught fire after the Max management allegedly refused to hike the salaries of resident doctors and asked for more time. The resident doctors in private hospitals are unhappy as their counterparts in government hospitals are getting nearly 30-40% more than them after the sixth Pay Commission. Joining the Max protest were doctors from Batra hospital, who wore black badges as a mark of protest and have given the management two days time to decide. 

"Disparity in pay has been there for long but we didn't make it an issue. But with the sixth Pay Commission being implemented, the gulf has become wider. There is nearly 30-40% difference in salaries," said a resident doctor at Max Healthcare. The resident doctors say that they had approached the management long back, but "this strike is a result of management's inaction followed by their decision to not increase salaries. All we are asking is put us on a par with government hospital doctors," said another senior doctor at Max. 

According to Pervez Ahmed, executive medical director, Max Healthcare, "We have got mass leave applications, which have not been accepted. We are hopeful that a majority of doctors would return to work by Wednesday and in case they don't, action would be taken against them. As far as the salary issue is concerned, we are paying our senior residents doing or completed specialization more than what is given to doctors at government hospitals." 

Doctors at a majority of leading private hospitals in Delhi claim to be facing the same problem. At Indraprastha Apollo, doctors claim the conditions are 'really bad'. "The junior and senior doctors here are grossly underpaid. It is in fact less than what resident doctors get at other private hospitals. The consultants' forum at Apollo had taken up the salary issue of resident doctors with the management but nothing was done. It all fell on deaf ears," 

said a senior consultant with Indraprastha Apollo on condition of anonymity. Sources at Apollo hospital say that resident doctors had put up posters to boycott the Apollo Day celebration held in October. 

However, Apollo hospital denied these claims and their official statement read: "We have discussed it with the junior medical staff and are examining the matter closely." But doctors say that this doesn't solve their problem. 

The condition is the same at Batra hospital, where resident doctors have given two days notice to the management to take a decision or face strike. "A senior resident in government hospital gets somewhere between Rs 55,000 to Rs 58,000, but we get just Rs 38,000-Rs 40,000. The junior residents are even more poorly paid. There should be some parity," said a senior resident from Batra hospital. 

According to Dr Sanjeev Bagai, medical director Rockland hospital, "Financial implications are important, but resident doctors should focus on their career than on money. These three years are important and doctors should make the best out of it. We all know that doctors earn a lot as consultants. One can't equate medical profession with any other profession. Moreover, these doctors have signed the contract that means nobody forced them to join and it is out of free will."
Source : The Times of India.

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