Pay Cuts, Lack Of Protective Equipment, Long Working Hours Force Nurses To Quit In Delhi Hospitals

The nurses in private hospitals in Delhi have complained that their salaries were being arbitrarily cut and they were being forced to work for up to 12 hours without a change of their PPE.

Delhi   |   19 Jun 2020 6:53 AM GMT
Writer : Palak Agrawal | Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | Creatives : Abhishek M
Pay Cuts, Lack Of Protective Equipment, Long Working Hours Force Nurses To Quit In Delhi Hospitals

The Supreme Court on June 17 told the Delhi government to stop harassing doctors and registering FIRs against them. "You can't suppress the truth. Why did you suspend a doctor who made a video of the pathetic conditions of one of your hospitals?" the apex court said.

Taking suo-motu cognisance of the matter involving Delhi government's act of suspending health workers for exposing facts related to the conditions of hospitals in the national capital, the Apex Court had pulled up the state government and said to provide for the frontline healthcare warriors amid the outbreak.

In a separate incident, the Delhi High Court sought response from the Centre, State, and the Indian Nursing Council on a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) which alleged that nurses in private hospitals were not being provided COVID-19 protective equipment while treating the patients.

"The worst-hit are nurses who are giving care to the patients at the bedside without personal protective equipment (PPE), N-95 mask, gloves, etc. especially in a private nursing home in Delhi and other parts of the country especially when there is a spike in asymptomatic COVID cases," said the petitioner.

According to The Indian Express report, the nurses engaged in the private hospitals have been complaining of lack of essential PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment), inadequate salaries, long working hours, and absence of support from the authorities.

The nurses in private hospitals have also brought to the fore the challenges while treating COVID-19 patients. Lack of training to handle the coronavirus-positive patients has added to their woes. Additionally, working extra hours donning PPEs does not even allow them to take breaks. To top it all, salary cuts discourage them at the time of a national crisis.

According to the report, Delhi's Primus Super Speciality Hospital lodged a complaint with the district authorities and police against its nurses, accusing them of "abandoning patients".

There have been complaints that the salaries of the nursing staff were being arbitrarily cut and that the nurses were being forced to work for up to 12 hours without a change of their PPE.

The management of the hospital met with the nursing staff on Thursday, June 18, for negotiations and the nurses reportedly agreed to rejoin the duty on a reassurance that the management would meet their demands especially reduction of duty hours.

According to reports, Saroj Speciality Hospital which was declared as a dedicated COVID-19 facility had 262 nurses before lockdown which has now come down to 60.

On the face of a widening trust gap between the Delhi government and the private sector, the hospital administrations and private nursing homes are struggling to retain their healthcare staff.

The smaller nursing homes with more than 50 beds in the national capital have been directed to reserve 20 per cent of the beds specifically for COVID-19 patients.

These facilities are not just facing medical staff crisis but are also witnessing a shortage of housekeeping staff. Maintaining hygiene and constant sanitisation of space/equipment is of utmost importance during the coronavirus scare.

Dr K K Sethi, Chairman of Delhi Heart and Lung Institute (DHLI) which has a cardiology and pulmonology facility, said their staff quit over two phases.

"Around 27 per cent of the nurses stopped working since March after their families raised concerns over COVID-19. The second phase came after the hospital was asked to reserve 20% of the beds for corona patients. Those who have stayed, we have to increase their salaries to gain their confidence."

Also Read: Health Ministry Launches India's First Mobile Laboratory For COVID-19 Testing

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Palak Agrawal

Palak Agrawal

Digital Journalist

Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.

Shubhendu Deshmukh

Shubhendu Deshmukh

Digital Editor

Shubhendu, the quint essential news junky, the man who loves science and politics in equal measure and offers the complete contrast to it by being a fan of urdu poetry as well.

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Abhishek M

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" An engineer by profession, Abhishek is the creative producer of the team, graphic designing is his passion and travelling his get away. In more ways than one, he makes the content visually appealing."

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