Patients at GMSH-16 harassed as staff goes on two-hour strike

Workers want immediate solution to staff shortage problems.

Patients at the Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16 were in for considerable harassment when over 150 lab technicians accompanied by some nurses and other paramedical staff including Class IV employees, sweepers etc went on a strike and thus disrupted work for nearly two hours in the morning.

In fact, the services at the hospital including OPD clinics and operation theatres were severely hampered.

According to sources, only one surgery could be done in the ENT department while both the Surgery and the Orthopedic Departments could start functioning only in the afternoon, resulting in only two surgeries each being performed.

The patients, who had no clue about the strike, had to bear with it and several of them had to go back without their tests conducted.

The workers who were on strike comprised mostly of regular staff who claimed that they had to resort to such a measure due to their long pending demands which were not being fulfilled.

Said Prem Lata, a resident of Sector 52, who had come to the hospital for her diagnostic tests, "I came here in the morning only to find that there were no staff members available. Also there was so much chaos in the hospital that it was so inconvenient to even get in," she added.

The employees also held a gate meeting to decide on the future course of action.

The meeting addressed by Kanwaljit Singh, president of the JAC, had the participation of the staff members of the Chandigarh and paramedical technical employee nurses union, Class IV and the sweepers' union. The protesting employees also raised slogans against the officiating Director, Health Services cum Medical Superintendent, Dr Rajiv Vadehra

However, despite repeated attempts, none of the officials from the hospital were available for comment.

The members of the Joint Action committee (JAC), who observed the strike, said that they have not yet received any intimation from the Hospital Administration for a meeting and thus they have decided to hold a peaceful candle march in protest on November 8 at 5 pm from GMSH 16 to the Sector 17 Plaza. They are also going to hold a similar gate meeting on November 9.

However, the union members said that during this period, emergency services will not be affected in public interest and for any inconvenience to public, the Hospital Administration will be responsible.

The staff has been demanding that the acute shortage of staff in each and every department i.e. paramedical staff, ward servants, sweepers etc be immediately addressed, besides the filling up of regular vacant posts.

There is also a pending demand to address the problem of shortage of infrastructure in the X-ray department, where only two X-ray machines are working. The X-ray machine lying in the emergency ward is out of order from the past three years and the mammography machine is non-functional.

The employees are also demanding that a seniority list according to their staff A, B, C and D, may be provided at the earliest. Besides this demand, another demand is that CT scan and MRI should be brought under the direct control of the Hospital Administration instead of being outsourced.

They also demanded that CT and MRI service should be free to all the regular staff and their dependents in the OPD's, and regular staff i.e. ward servant, sweeper be posted in the New OPD block. The promotion of Sweeper Operating incinerator as Incinerator operator under the rules was also another demand.

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