New Delhi: The Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of the Hindu Rao Hospital in the national capital has threatened to withdraw from Covid duty from Sunday over non-payment of dues for over three months.
In a letter to the hospital’s medical superintendent, the association said, “An emolument is an imperative way to enliven ones’ attitude but due to the neglection by the administration for 3.5 months, it more seems like penal servitude than moral discipline (sic).”
It threatened to withdraw from Covid duty from 10 October onward. However, since the letter was submitted after office timings Thursday, the association pushed the deadline by a day to 11 October as it sought to give the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC)-run hospital a 48-hour notice.
Doctors were failing to run basic errands due to non-payment of wages and were therefore “retracting to further provide our services in the emergency Covid department”, the letter said.
“We are tormented in ways to surpass our ethics of being called as skilled workers to public demonstrators seeking our primitive right to be remunerated,” it said.
The RDA vice president, Dr Sagardeep Bawa, told ThePrint that doctors haven’t received their salaries for the months of July-September. “It has been 4 months since we received our salaries. We are putting our health at stake. This is causing a lot of mental harassment,” he said.
While the doctors were paid their March-May salaries in June, after the intervention of Delhi High Court, they received their June salary in September.
The RDA represents around 250 doctors. Nearly 50-60 of them have been on Covid duty, which lasts two weeks at a stretch, said Bawa.
ThePrint reached Hindu Rao Hospital’s medical superintendent Anu Kapoor for a comment. However, she said she was not authorised to speak on the issue.
ThePrint reached NDMC mayor Jai Prakash via calls and texts but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
‘No written assurance’
Approximately 100-150 doctors and nurses have been gathering every day from 10 am to 12 pm outside the hospital for nearly a week, protesting the delay in payment of dues. “We will assemble tomorrow also,” said Bawa.
On Friday, RDA president Dr Abhimanyu Sardana and Bawa met NDMC Mayor Jai Prakash, who urged them not to withdraw from Covid duty.
According to Bawa, Prakash explained to them that he was working to resolve the issue, adding that NDMC had not received funds from the Delhi government. Prakash purportedly said there was a problem in generation of funds due to Covid.
“He asked us to continue working and not disengage from Covid duty. However, he gave no written assurance. We will continue with our plan to withdraw from Covid duty if not paid wages,” said Bawa.
While RDA doctors have decided to withdraw, the nurses of the hospital remain undecided on the future course of action if not paid dues, added Bawa.
Earlier in June, the Delhi High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of reports related to non-payment of salaries to doctors of hospitals, including Hindu Rao. It had instructed the NDMC to release the salaries of these doctors.
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