Face off at SKIMS: Doctors threaten stir, demand hike in salaries

Srinagar: Valley’s lone tertiary health care hospital, Sheri-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) is facing an imminent crisis as senior residents have threatened an indefinite strike.

The resident doctors of the institute are demanding salaries as per the pay band approved by the centre for equal work and equal payment. However, authorities seemingly, are not in a mood to consider their demands.

As per sources, the doctors at SKIMS are paid their salary equivalent to what the doctors at Government Medical College (GMC) get, which according to the doctors is totally against the norms.

“SKIMS and GMC cannot be equated in terms of work load, the working hours of doctors at SKIMS and that of at GMC are totally different, thus, they cannot come under the same pay scale,” sources said.

What is more interesting is that the vacancies for junior residents were abolished few years ago, in order to divert the finances for increasing the salaries of the resident doctors at SKIMS, however, even after doing that, the doctors are yet to be brought under the required pay scale.

“With the absence of junior residents, the work load only increased, and no increment was sanctioned for us,” said a doctor, wishing not to be named.

SKIMS is considered to be at par with other national institutes like AIIMS, PGI, in terms of working hours, patient care and academics, but the pay scale of doctors is not the same as of now.

Pertinently, the salary of resident doctors was slashed in early 2000s by the then administration and since then, doctors said multiple representations were given to the respective authorities to address the same, but nothing positive came to fore.

The protesting doctors have put forth their demands to the Director SKIMS, Dr A G Ahanger, he however, asked them to continue with their duties.

“He in fact said that in case we failed to attend to our duties our salaries will be deducted accordingly, suggesting the tone of the administration in dealing with the grievances of the doctors,” said another doctor wishing not to be named.

Pertinently, a delegation of doctors on Wednesday again met Director SKIMS, and discussed the issue with him. As per the delegation, Director SKIMS assured that the matter will be solved within a short frame of time provided the strike is called off.”

Sources further revealed that the doctors have given SKIMS authorities a deadline of three weeks in order to resolve their grievances, failing which they will be forced to take tough measures that can also include indefinite strike, which will badly affect the functioning of the hospital.

Notably, the hospital, on regular bases caters to the needs of around 3000-3500 patients in its Outpatient Department (OPD), and a considerable number of patients in Inpatient Department (IPD), and if the demands of the doctors are not met with, the functioning of the hospital is going to be hit badly.

The scenes of the chaos were witnessed on Wednesday, when the doctors went on strike and with the result, patients suffered hugely, however, the strike was called off later.

There are more than 32 major departments at SKIMS with almost 500 doctors on duty, and with any strict measure, if taken the working of the institute will literally come to a standstill.



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