M A I N   N E W S

Crisis at PIMS, Punjab’s flagship institution - I
Without salary for 5 months, docs leave; patients follow suit
Sanjeev Singh Bariana & Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
While the Punjab Government is trying to woo more big-ticket investors into the health sector, its earlier experiment to privatise the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Jalandhar, with much fanfare has been anything but a success.

The institute was given to the PIMS Medical and Education Charitable Society on public-private partnership (PPP) mode in 2010.

The functioning of PIMS has come to a virtual standstill for the past week or so because no fresh patients are being admitted.

From among the old admissions, a majority of them are leaving because of the negligible staff on duty.

Against the total capacity of 250 patients, the hospital currently has only about 50. Against the average of 24 surgeries daily, the number today was “just two or maybe three”.

The non-payment of salary has led to this sorry state of affairs. The staff has not received its dues since July. It was the same story in March and October last year.

A document signed by 57 doctors confirmed that salaries had not been paid since July. More than 20 doctors have quit their jobs in the recent past and several more were prepared to resign, official sources confirmed. The situation, as expected, is no better for the nursing staff and other employees as well.

The latest round of talks to break the impasse failed today as the doctors did not agree to accepting just a month’s salary that would have been disbursed on December 20.

A senior doctor, requesting anonymity, said, “Without his salary, running a family is impossible for a salaried person.” Dr Kulbir Kaur, Director Principal of the PIMS Medical and Education Charitable Society, said, “The payment of salaries does not concern my office.”

In order to keep the institute afloat, the Punjab Government, with the backing of the PIMS Medical and Educational Charitable Society, is learnt to be looking at tie-ups with private medical organisations. Fortis is learnt to have shown interest.

(To be continued)

Not in pink of health

* More than 20 doctors have left PIMS, touted as a premier healthcare institute, due to non-payment of salaries

* No new patients are being admitted. With negligible staff on duty, a majority of patients have left the hospital

* The hospital has a capacity of 250 patients. Currently, it has only about 50 patients





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