Ambulance strike did not affect patients much

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BANGALORE: The ambulances kept moving through the day, despite the drivers and paramedic staff of Surkasha Kavacha (108 services) striking to get better pay packs. Sunday remained peaceful and most of the government and private hospitals claimed no fatalties due to the strike.

The Karnataka Rajya Arogya Kavacha 108 Naukara Sangha (union) staged a massive rally at Freedom Park in Bangalore with hundreds of drivers and paramedic staff who had been demanding security of job and hike in wages. The protestors said that their agitation would continue until the government bends to fulfill their demands.

One of the striking paramedic staff, Anuroopa MG told TOI, “As per the MoU signed with the government, we were supposed to be paid around Rs13,000 but in reality, we are paid only Rs7,000. Those from Bangalore get Rs10,000 including the transport allowances but this is not enough to run a household and family of six people in the city.”

However, when TOI checked with the government and private hospitals, they seemed to be bit relaxed. “Not many severe cases or casualties have come(until Sunday evening) but our hospital ambulances are there to attend few cases. The 108 services assured us that they will send an ambulance and a driver if need be,” said Dr RL Chandraprabha, medical superintendent, KC General hospital.

Sparsh hospital, Columbia Asia hospital, Bowring hospital and Philomena’s hospital also said that there was not much of a hara-kiri due to the strike.

“It is most unfortunate that ambulance services are being hit and patients have to suffer. In Manipal, there were no such cases of critical patients being brought late due to the non-availability of ambulance service. Ambulance drivers do have to go through the traffic ordeal and save lives on a daily basis on the city roads and people have no respect for ambulance, rather they take opportunity to get way because of an ambulance behind them on the roads. But personally, a strike is not acceptable to me,” said Dr Sudarshan Ballal, medical director, Manipal hospital.

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