Surgeries put on hold at SMHS hospital, LD admin ‘managed’ staff dearth
Only elective surgeries delayed, staff attendance being monitored: Principal GMC
Patient care took a hit in the associated hospitals of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar on Monday as contractual paramedical employees began their two-day hunger strike to press for regularization of services. The strike also caused delay in surgeries at SMHS Hospital.
The contractual paramedics engaged in 2011 under SRO-384 began their 48-hour-long hunger strike on Monday demanding regularization of their services. They accused the government of neglecting them.
Due to the stir, SMHS Hospital which has nearly 200 contractual paramedics was badly affected as doctors cancelled some surgeries taking a toll on patient care.
At the hospital, doctors said anesthesia department remained worst hit and witnessed chaotic scenes as majority of the manpower working there is contractual.
Lal Ded Maternity Hospital also remained affected but the hospital authorities claimed that they managed the dearth of paramedics amid strike.
At LD hospital doctors said there are nearly 60 contractual paramedics and all of them joined the strike that has overburdened the permanent staff.
The contractual paramedics began two-day hunger strike on Monday to press for their regularization stating that the government has neglected their plight over the years.
President of Contractual Employees Federation, GMC Srinagar, Hilal Ahmad said the health department has neglected them over the years pushing them to the wall.
"We are observing strike to seek regularization of our services. We have moved many proposals to the government but nothing concrete has come out of that so far,” he said.
They employees gathered outside the office of Principal GMC, Srinagar. However, there was no negotiation between the paramedics and the authorities.
There are over 1000 contractual paramedics working on the academic arrangement in GMC Srinagar and Jammu of which more than 500 are serving in seven associated hospitals of GMC Srinagar.
In absence of a regularization policy, the employees accused the government of putting their careers at stake.
Ahmad said that it was shocking for them as authorities used the “under training paramedic students” to treat patients to build a narrative that patient care wasn’t hit.
“They are befooling patients. Using training students for patients is illegal. It can risk the lives of patients,” he said.
The president said they were in the frontline during 2014 floods and 2016 unrest but the government is ‘not serious in making their future secure.’
The appointments of the paramedical employees like laboratory, X-ray, theatre, and anesthesia assistants, nurses, pharmacists were made on temporary basis in 2011 for six years without any regularization policy.
They had to be terminated after six years but they continued their services. Neither were they terminated nor did GMC release their salaries since then.
The employees then approached the High Court which directed for the release of their stipend.
Principal GMC Srinagar, Prof Parvaiz A Shah said the 500 contractual employees have been working for the last more than ten years.
“They have gone to HC but it has not given them any favourable decision. Their services can’t be extended beyond six years as per the norms unless the government changes SRO. As per existing law, their regularization is not possible,” he told Rising Kashmir.
Shah said the government is at it. “It is a time-consuming process and will take some more time as it is a policy decision,” he said.
The principal said the strike did not affect the hospital. He admitted that some elective surgeries were delayed and they will accommodate such cases on priority, in the next week.
In view of the strike, the medical college authorities issued a circular and cancelled the issuance of leaves in favor of officials in the strike days (22 and 23 July).
“The attendance of all employees working in GMC Srinagar shall reach the principal’s office by 11 am and 4 pm respectively,” reads the order.
The order said that frequent rounds be carried out in the hospitals to ensure hassle-free functioning and avoid any inconvenience to the patients.