Medical staff refuse to rejoin and risk their lives for heavily compromised salaries, say they were paid double during lockdown months last year; nurses say even accommodation, meals not being provided. Existing staff at facility heavily overworked
With COVID-19 cases surging rapidly and unceasingly,
Moreover, with the refusal of fresh medical staff to join operations here, doctors and nurses who already resumed work at the facility recently are claiming that they are heavily beleaguered. With at least 300 patients admitted to the facility in the span of just one week, the existing lot of medical staff is simply unable to handle the load.
One of the doctors being offered a place here again revealed on condition of anonymity, “Last year, when there was a surge in cases, PMC had come out with an advertisement for doctors, offering salaries in the range of Rs 70,000 to Rs 90,000 for work at the jumbo centre. But when they contacted me a few ago to come back to the centre, I was offered only Rs 45,000. I felt this is very little for a doctor — the new offer is nearly 50 per cent of what I was getting on
Doctors further reasoned that they are receiving much higher incentives at other private hospitals while doing non-COVID duties — then why would they come risk their lives at this jumbo centre? “We are working with some private hospitals where we get better pay for non-COVID work. How can the agency expect doctors to join the jumbo facility at far lower salaries when we all will be at the highest risk of getting infected by the virus? Apart from that, the contract with the agency to work at the centre would be for three to four months only. Why would anybody leave their existing workplace to work for just a few months, that too on lower salaries?” asked another doctor, who had worked with the jumbo centre for several months last year.
Like doctors, nursing staff are also reluctant to join this time. They claimed that unlike last time, Medbros is not even providing them with accommodation and food services now. A nurse from another district, who was part of the jumbo facility last year and has been approached for employment again, said, “Last time, the agency gave free accommodation and meals to all nursing staff. We were also getting decent salaries. Since we did not have to spend on accommodation and meals, there was a lot of saving. This time, they stated that we will have to make our own arrangements for accommodation and meals. If that is the case, we will end up spending all our compromised salaries on these facilities. Naturally, many of us have refused to resume work.”
Just last week, when the facility was restarted by PMC, some doctors who were part of the team last year rejoined the operations. Now, these doctors have asserted that the reluctance among further hires and the resultant shortage of additional manpower has put them under tremendous work pressure. Cases are skyrocketing, leading to more and more patients getting admitted at the centre, and less people to take care of them.
One employed doctor, preferring to stay unnamed, shared, “There are around 30 COVID-19 patients at the intensive care unit (ICU) here, and around 250 in the general wards. However, there are not enough doctors to look after them. At the ICU, there is only one doctor on night duty. If three to four patients’ health deteriorates, it will be extremely difficult for that one doctor to treat them all at the same time.”
Now, a team of doctors who are potential hires at this facility have even held a meeting with Mayor
Despite repeated attempts by Mirror to contact Shreyansh Kapale, director of the Medbros agency, he remained unavailable for comment on the matter.