Lok Nayak staff to strike for 3 days against PPP

1,200 employees to stop work from 9 am to 11 am

Protesting against Delhi government’s decision of roping in private players to provide dialysis machines at the hospitals, over 1,200 staff members of Lok Nayak Hospital in central Delhi will strike work during rush hours from 9 am to 11 am for three days, starting August 29.

Around 120 dialysis machines will be installed in six government-run hospitals in the capital, the first 10 of which are set to start service at Lok Nayak Hospital on August 30.

If the strike fails to move the government, leaders of Delhi State Health Employees Joint Federation have warned that the similar protest will be followed in all state government hospitals for three days starting September 2.

“After that we might even take some drastic steps,” warned Raghuvinder Singh, general secretary of DSHEJF.

He said the initiative of privatisation will adversely affect the employees as well as the patients.

“Under the PPP model, everyone —  barring patients below poverty line and a few other categories — will be charged Rs 1,050 for each dialysis session. Dialysis will, hence, become unaffordable to most of the patients,” he said.

The hospital currently has 11 dialysis machines, of which two are condemned and two are used exclusively for HIV patients.

“With the entry of private players, the government dialysis machines will not be repaired and will be phased out slowly,” alleged Umesh Panditji, a member of DSHEJF.

The employees are also worried that the privatisation will bring in inexperienced private employees at low salaries, a practice which will lead to poor quality healthcare.

“Private employees at low salaries will never show the kind of responsibility as we do. We have already witnessed the downside of privatisation in Sushruta Trauma Centre last year,” said Singh.

Four patients on ventilator support had died last December after the oxygen supply by a private company in the intensive care unit of the specialised trauma centre was interrupted for 12 minutes.

In a letter to the medical superintendent, the employees’ union expressed concern over the possible transfer of dialysis technical staff to other departments, which they say, will affect their careers.

Despite repeated attempts by Deccan Herald, the hospital authorities as well as the state health secretary S C L Das remained unavailable for comments.

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