Nurse strike stalls surgeries at AIIMS

Row erupts over suspension of hospital’s nursing union head, agitation called off after high court intervention 

Published: 27th April 2022 07:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th April 2022 07:20 AM   |  A+A-

Nurses sitting on strike at the AIIMS campus on Tuesday, The strike was called off in the evening | Express

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  On a day of tension for patients admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, around 60 major surgeries had to be cancelled as 5,000 nursing staff went on a strike. It was called off late on Tuesday evening, after the Delhi High Court asked the union of nurses to resume duty. The court will hear the matter on Wednesday. 

During the strike, patients suffered. Some of them were told in the morning that no surgery will be conducted. The nurses were demanding immediate revocation of the suspension of AIIMS Nursing Union President Harish Kalja. The union head was suspended by AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria for interrupting surgeries and misbehaving with resident doctors.

“In response to your decision to suspend Harish Kajla, president of AIIMS Nurses Union, without even citing proper reasons, the union called an emergency executive meeting and decided to go on indefinite strike from 8 am (26/4/2022) demanding immediate revocation of the suspension,” the union wrote to Guleria.

However, the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of AIIMS maintained that Kajla was suspended for misbehaving with a resident doctor. “Whoever is diverting this matter for political gain be aware that the RDA is going to fight for the self respect of doctors,” it said. On Saturday, Kajla and other nurses were protesting against staff shortage and in the process, halted nearly 80 surgeries after the patients had been given anaesthesia. When the doctors intervened, Kajla allegedly misbehaved with them. On Sunday, Guleria suspended Kajla.

The decision came after resident doctors demanded Kajla’s suspension and sought further disciplinary action as per the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules. An FIR was filed at Hauz Khas police station by the security section of the institute against members of the Nursing Union.

Guleria on Tuesday released a video where he spoke about the strike and how it affected the patients. “A few days ago without any notice, discussion and for no obvious reason, members of the Nursing Union barged into the main OT complex and disrupted surgeries,” said Guleria. 

Timeline of events

April 23: Nurses Union misbehaves with doctors and duty officers. Union president Harish Kajla halts work due to which around 80 surgeries get cancelled

April 24: Resident doctors complaint against nursing Kajla. Demand his suspension. 

April 25: AIIMS director suspends Kajla, orders him to not leave the AIIMS campus

April 26: HC directs nurses to call off strike after a plea by AIIMS

Director’s appeal

Amid the nurses barging into the OP complex and disrupting surgeries, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria appealed to the nursing officers to join duty and added the administration will support them 


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