Patient care hit at SKIMS as resident doctors’ strike enters 2nd day

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Patient care was hit at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) here as the strike by resident doctors entered second day on Saturday. 
Due to the strike, all dated surgeries, investigations and procedures were cancelled. 
Following “non-fulfilment” of their demands regarding removal of pay anomaly, resident doctors association (RDA) of the institute had called for an indefinite strike starting Friday. The strike has affected all hospital facilities, including emergency services, resulting in inconvenience to patients, many of whom had come from far off places to seek treatment.
 Many patients admitted at SKIMS for surgeries were discharged due to shortage of doctors, a source at the hospital said. Surgeries and diagnostic tests were also cancelled.
 Medical superintendent SKIMS Soura, Dr Farooq Jan, said that a roaster of faculty members had been put in place to cater to critical areas of the hospital. “Wards and emergency services were attended to by faculty members,” he said.
He said surgeries had been cancelled due to non availability of resident doctors who were crucial for post operative care. According to hospital administration, only 700 patients had been seen in OPD against 1500 daily on average. Around 60 admissions, against usual average of 200 were made on Saturday.
 “It is a difficult time,” Dr Jan said. 
A senior doctor said it was for the first time that emergency of SKIMS had been closed down. “Whatever were the circumstances, emergencies were always kept functional. Kashmir depends on SKIMS emergency services,” he said.
A memorandum by RDA SKIMS addressed to government has made it amply clear that the strike would continue till a written commitment in addressing their demands is not issued. The demands include bringing the pay band of SKIMS resident doctors at par with those of resident doctors of the PGI and AIIMS, implementation of 7th pay commission recommendation and timely release of 7th pay commission arrears.
Resident doctors of SKIMS have been issuing statements and submitting memorandums to various government offices including director SKIMS in the past, pressing for the demands. “Our demands are falling on deaf ears for the past many years,” the protesting doctors said. 
Director SKIMS, Dr Omar Javed Shah, said the demands had already been taken up with the government and it was decided that a special allowance would be paid to residents of SKIMS. “There was and is no justification for the strike, especially in emergency areas” he said while hinting at disciplinary action against those “who make essential services suffer”.  He said that government had already taken a decision to hike stipend of all residents and the file had gone for a final approval of Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, faculty forum of SKIMS issued a statement to persuade the doctors to resume work in view of the “circumstances in the Valley” and in the larger interest of patient care. “The SKIMS faculty forum concurs with the genuine demands of the residents…, it is also cognizant of the steady efforts of the administration to bring these demands to fructification,” the statement read.

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