Over 500 resident doctors at Safdarjung Hospital, who had gone on a flash strike on Wednesday, returned to work on Thursday evening after being assured by the hospital authorities that all their demands would be looked into immediately.

However, patient-care suffered at the hospital earlier in the day with resident doctors staying away from work. The doctors on strike had gone on mass causal leave demanding better hospital infrastructure, adequate security, accommodation and better salaries.

Previous talks between the hospital authorities and resident doctors had failed and the medicos claimed that they were forced to go on strike due to the inaction by the authorities.

Senior resident at the hospital, Dr. Sameer Prabhakar, said: “Though in the morning we ensured that emergency services at the hospital are not hit, it is now high time that the Government understands that we are working here without proper accommodation, hospital infrastructure and security.’’

“We don’t have basic facilities like clean drinking water, adequate security for female doctors and severe shortage of nursing orderlies which puts enormous work load on the existing medical staff,’’ he added.

The strike hampered work at the hospital’s Out Patient Department (OPD) and other elective surgeries but emergency and the intensive care unit (ICU) services remained functional.

Patients coming to the hospital were caught unawares and suffered as most of them were forced to return or seek medical treatment elsewhere.

“There was complete chaos and confusion this morning with the OPDs not functioning and doctors staying away from work. The harsh Delhi weather and the fact that we have travelled so far to get treatment and now have wasted practically the entire day only adds to our trauma. We accept that the doctors here are overworked and that there are several cases of patient relatives getting aggressive with them, but to stay away from work and put so many patients to inconvenience is not correct,’’ said 57-year-old Hari Prasad, who is taking treatment for multiple ailments including kidney disorder at the hospital and had come for his check-up.

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