In an unfortunate turn of events, the heroes fighting the virus on the frontlines every day may have to succumb to pay cuts, deferred salaries and job loss as the lockdown has impacted the private health sector as well.
Patient occupancy is low and overheads including rent, electricity and employee salaries are high in hospitals, big and small alike.
While the junior-level staff may be spared, just as they have been across industries, the senior doctors and nurses as well as the higher ups may see considerable cuts in compensation. While a stimulus package from the Government may be of help, there has been no such announcement till now.
The situation has reached a level where the doctors may have to suffer a deduction of 70 per cent in their monthly salary.
Patient count is low in OPDs that once witnessed a constant stream of patients before COVID entered the scenario followed by the lockdown. Moreover, hospitals are facing the heat in two ways. The smaller hospitals have a more grave situation to handle, as they cannot afford to lay off their employees, who are indispensable to them. In addition, costs have risen across hospitals and private nursing homes as they have had to comply with safety measures. This has resulted in additional investment on personal protection equipment (PPE) kits and regular disinfection.
Increasing costs with little or no cash inflow does not augur well for these COVID warriors.