Doctors observing public holiday hit work in hospitals


Doctors in all hospitals operating under directorate of health services Kashmir (DHSK) stayed away from work to observe public holiday on Tuesday, forcing closure of OPDs and cancellation of all other services. This was done by the doctors to press for their demands including the two-and-a-half day salary ‘allowance’ and risk allowance among others. However the emergency services remained functional.
Officials said it is for the first time in the history of health services in the state that doctors closed OPD services on a public holiday. Their absence forced cancellation of surgeries, ultra-sonography tests and other procedures as well. This was for the second time in the past one week that the doctors availed for themselves the gazetted holiday.
The decision to remain off duty on public holidays was announced in April by Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) while asking government to approve two-and-a-half day salary allowance (usually given to the employees who deal with emergency services), risk allowance, rural allowance in their favour, among other demands.
Following Shab-e-Qadr holiday all surgeries were cancelled due to non-availability of the doctors. The medical superintendent district hospital (DH) Anantnag, said that due to closure of the USG, no procedures could be performed at the hospital. “We could just run our emergency which was over-burdened with patients and the injured,” he said.
The DHSK in a statement on Tuesday impressed upon doctors to ensure availability of services at all hospitals, while assuring that their demands were being looked into. “Government has already constituted a high-level committee to look into the demands of the doctors,” director health services Kashmir, Dr Saleem ur Rehman said in a statement. 
“Any misconduct, absenteeism, strike or non-attending of duties in this regard shall be dealt under the relevant laws and rules,” the statement said.
However, on Wednesday, the doctors association termed the “assertions” of the director as “pressure tactics” while reiterating that doctors would continue to avail public holidays till government did not come up with a “concrete plan” to address their demands.

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