Bathinda: Doctors back in OPDs, stir ‘loses steam’

Bathinda: Doctors back in OPDs, stir ‘loses steam’

Patients outside an OPD at the Civil Hospital in Bathinda.

Sameer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28

Doctors’ protest, which began on a high note around a month ago against the cut in their Non-Practicing Allowance (NPA) following recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission, seems to have “run out of steam” recently.

Fear of reprimand

  • Sources say the gradual shift in stance can be attributed to fear of official reprimand by the government
  • This came after a senior doctor and the PCMSA president was transferred from Bathinda amid protests
  • They say the Health Minister’s visit to inaugurate a hospital in the district is also a factor that coerced doctors to resume regular OPDs

After suspending OPD services completely, the doctors had threatened to stop work in the emergency unit as well. But now they can be seen examining patients in their respective OPDs. Earlier, they used to attend patients at parallel OPDs at the protest venue. Now, the business continues as usual after a few doctors hold a protest for half an hour in the morning.

The doctors held protests and suspended OPDs initially after the Health Department transferred the Bathinda district president of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA), the government doctors’ association spearheading the protests across the state.

A source said: “Things have started subsiding now. The gradual shift in stance can be attributed to fear of official reprimand by the government, especially after a senior doctor and the PCMSA president was transferred from Bathinda amid the protests. Doctors first saw it as a pressure tactic to muzzle the protest and intensified their stir, but later thinking that one of them could be the next in line of fire, they have started falling in line now.”

Another source said: “The government’s indifferent attitude and Health Minister Balbir Sidhu’s visit to inaugurate a hospital in Bathinda on Monday are also the possible factors that coerced doctors to resume regular OPDs from their respective cabins in the Civil Hospital now.”

Dr Jagrup Singh, acting president of the Bathinda PCMSA, said: “During our state-level protest, the Health Minister had assured us that the government will take up our issue and resolve it on priority. So, we decided to conduct OPDs from our seats but patients are still being given prescription slips in the name of PCMSA and even medicines are being given for free.”

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