Health services halted as govt doctors in Punjab strike

Health services on halt as government doctors in Punjab strike

All emergency services, Covid-related work including duty of doctors in isolation wards, and vaccination continued as usual

The strike call was given by the Joint Punjab Government Doctors Coordination Committee. Credit: AFP Photo

Health services were affected in Punjab on Friday as government doctors went on a day-long strike against the recommendations of the state's sixth pay commission related to non-practising allowance and pension benefits.

Outpatient department (OPD) services remained suspended in government hospitals, with doctors at many places holding demonstrations.

However, all emergency services, Covid-19-related work including duty of doctors in isolation wards, and vaccination continued as usual, Dr Gagandeep Singh, president of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association, told PTI over phone.

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The strike call was given by the Joint Punjab Government Doctors Coordination Committee, which has members from the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association and is supported by the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association, Rural Medical Officers Association, Punjab Dental Medical Officers Association and Punjab Ayurveda Officers Association.

"We are against the decision to decrease Non-Practising Allowance and delinking NPA from basic pay. Besides, we are also objecting to the formula which they have used to calculate pension benefits," Singh said.

Asked what medical services have been affected in view of the strike, Singh said, "OPDs, elective surgeries, official work, online consultations, these have been suspended in all government hospitals across Punjab -- from district hospitals to subsidiary health centres as well as in all ayurvedic dispensaries and homoeopathic clinics. The work in veterinary hospitals is also suspended."

Singh said that in medical colleges in the state OPD and elective surgeries remained suspended.

Dental OPDs also remained closed in government hospitals and health centres, he said.

The Punjab government had on Thursday set up an oversight committee of ministers to resolve grievances of state government employees.

The state government employees on Wednesday had gone on a five-day pen-down strike against the recommendations of the sixth pay commission. They employees were objecting to the formula used in calculation of pay increase.

The Punjab government last week had decided to implement a majority of the recommendations of its sixth pay commission with effect from January 1, 2016, a move that will benefit over five lakh serving and retired employees.

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