New Delhi: Emergency services at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was hit on Friday when over 5,000 nurses went on a one-day mass leave demanding higher pay than that recommended by the 7th Pay Commission.
Scores of patients were turned away by the guards outside the Emergency department. Besides, around 90 “elective operations,” the ones scheduled for Friday, also could not be conducted due to the absence of the nurses. “We have come here from far but they are not registering patients at the Emergency department. We will wait for some time,” said Zubeida, a resident of Seelampur in Northeast Delhi, who had come with a heart related problem.
The AIIMS administration had already informed the Delhi police and CATS ambulance services that the institute would not be able to attend to the road accident cases and patients should be instead taken to other hospitals.
The nurses are protesting against what they call “discrimination” by the 7th Pay Commission. They said that they want the entire pay-scale for the staff nurses to be hiked from Rs 4,600 to Rs 5,400 and nursing allowances to be increased by Rs 7,800.
With the nurses threatening to go on an indefinite strike from March 27, the AIIMS administration has labelled the protest as “blackmail.” It said that several rounds of meetings have been held with the nurses and their concerns will be sent to the health ministry.
“Their mass leave is not justified legally. We have already implemented the Pay Commission recommendations,” said Dr Balram Airan, the acting director of AIIMS.
He added that the administration is hopeful that the stalemate will be broken and that the nurses would not go on indefinite strike from March 27. The authorities will take “stern action” in case they go on strike.
“This amounts to blackmail and arm-twisting the administration at the cost of the poor patients,” said Dr Airan.