POKHARA, July 30: Outpatient Department (OPD) services at Manipal Teaching Hospital, Pokhara remained closed for the second straight day on Monday as the agitating doctors ignored the hospital administration´s request to return to work.
Issuing a statement on Monday, the hospital administration asked the agitating doctors to immediately resume the halted services saying their demand for a raise in their salary scales has already been addressed. However, the doctors continued their strike expressing doubts over the hospital administration´s statement.
"We are just told that our salary scales have been hiked," said Dr Dipak Koirala, general secretary of All Nepal Progressive Health Workers Association, which has been leading the doctors´ strike. "But, the hospital administration has refused to give us the details about our raised salary scales. Hence, we had to continue our strike."
In its statement, the hospital administration has said that the doctors will get their raised salaries from this month. However, the agitating doctors are not ready to trust the hospital administration. "Our salaries have not been increased for over two years," says Dr Koirala. "Every time we went on strike, we received only promises, not our raised salaries."
The hospital administration has even warned of completely shutting down all services, including emergency, if the agitating doctors refused to return to work. Apart from the OPD services, the doctors have been disrupting even educational activities at the teaching hospital.
In the statement, the hospital administration has accused the agitating doctors of not even allowing those who are willing to return to service to work. As the OPD services remained closed, only a few patients visited the hospital on Monday. While the hospital normally receives 500-700 patients every day, only 22 patients visited the hospital on Monday.