Facing cash crunch SKN Hospital pays 50 per cent salaries to staff

Not salary cut but only deferment of salaries 

Pune - Sudden impact of lockdown has caused revenue streams to dry up. With no cash reserves, no timely relief in sight and no revenues the management of SKN Hospital decided to pay 50 percent salaries to their staff.

This was done to ensure that staff does not face any economic crisis while rendering their services in fighting the pandemic. Some unfortunately misconstrued it to be a salary cut. 

Prof. M. N. Navale, Founder President of Sinhgad Technical Education Society promptly set the matters right by confirming that it is not a salary cut but a deferment of salaries which shall be paid in full within a couple of months keeping in view the prevailing situation.

He addressed gathering of around 300 staff consisting mainly of MPW – multipurpose workers who were joined by a few nurses who had gathered to express their apprehensions.

SKN Hospital is known for deep concerns of social welfare by providing excellent health care to alleviate poverty, disability and disease, by rendering gainful employment and free health care to the poor, deserving and needy, right from the very inception in the year 2006.

 The revenue that comes is by way of fees from medical students. There has been no income from fee and to make matters worse, there has been no relief from the government.

Dr. Shalini Sardesai, Dean of SKN Medical College and General Hospital says that the financial crunch is mainly due to payments not received to the tune of over Rs. 17 to 18 Crores from state social welfare department and a fee of around Rs. 37 crores due from postgraduate students.  There is no other major source of revenue. 

Out of total of 3000 persons employed with SKN Hospital, including Doctors, nurses, lab-technicians, ward boys, and MPWs – multipurpose workers, about 300 gathered to express their anxiety.

This gathering included a few who had absconded and left the service on the outbreak of pandemic when the call of duty required them to serve. 

The Doctors, including Resident Doctors and the majority of other staff, refrained from the gathering whereas the others were probably victim to false propaganda by vested interests which was promptly nipped in the bud by the assurance of President Prof. M.N. Navale who is highly regarded by one and all on account of his selfless service to the society. 

While it may be convenient for some to carry a negative report, many of the good deeds such as persistent and consistent health care, including surgeries to the poor and needy done by SKN Hospital, are brushed under the carpet.

Also, it is portrayed that salaries are not paid;  the reality is that 50 percent of salaries are paid and balance deferred on account of financial crunch arising out of crisis situation. 

Declaration of immediate lockdown created a sudden impact. The focus of SKN Hospital was shifted to effectively fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Management braced themselves to meet the challenges of the pandemic.

The hospital offered its services for coronavirus treatment and is a dedicated facility providing 100 beds and 20 ICU beds for treatment of corona patients with presently 70 coronavirus patients and 10 in ICU.

The management took very prompt and decisive actions informing and training the Covid-19 team. Besides training and equipping staff, due to shortage and various other reasons, the cost of supplies increased from 10 percent to 30 percent causing additional unavoidable financial burden.

Staff provides personal protective equipment PPE, market price ranging from Rs.1800 and above.  A quick glance reveals other basic costs like power, infrastructure maintenance, cost of ventilators, and so on.

Recurring costs also include proper precautions and care for the staff – they are provided boarding and lodging at the hospital to ensure that they do not contaminate anyone, by plugging all loopholes of their outside connect. All patients are also provided meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

The cost of testing and treatment of COVID-19 patients is also very high. The payment from the government for the treatment of coronavirus patients has not yet been received. As on date over 600 to 700 coronavirus patients have been treated, cured, and discharged from SKN Hospital, says Dr. Sardesai. 

Considering total staff of over 3000 including Doctors, nurses, lab-technicians, ward boys and MPWs – multipurpose workers the costs of protective equipment, care, food, and lodging to the staff itself is voluminous computing to crores of rupees being spent on a regular basis. 

Considering the situation it is imperative that the authorities should pay up the due amounts to the hospital on topmost priority which would be a great help and relief to carry the fight forward against Covid-19.

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