Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The ongoing strike of the nurses.


* Even when the private health sector grew as the biggest industry in Kerala, no government paid
   attention to the pay and service conditions of the nurses.
* The nurses formed independent unions because the trade unions representing the hospital
   employees were not protecting their interests.
* The pitiable pay and service conditions of nurses in the private hospitals grabbed public attention
   in 2011-12 during the first major strike they organised.
* Minimum wages were declared, for the first time, in May '13 when the salary was fixed at
   Rs.12,500/- and Rs.13,000/-.
* But during Nov '16, the Supreme Court, when hearing a PIL filed by the Indian Professional
   Nurses' Association, directed the Health Ministry to set up a committee to fix the minimum wages
   and service conditions of nurses in the private sector.
* Both the INA and the UNA have been fighting to secure the nursing community the wages
   prescribed by the SC-appointed Jagdish Prasad Committee which recommended minimum basic
   pay of Rs.20,000/- for nurses, even in hospitals with less than 50 beds.

The Result.

(a) Thousands of patients are getting a raw deal in hospitals due to the absence of the nursing staff. A few patients have succumbed to their illnesses for want of first aid/hospital care. The High Court has asked the government to clamp in the ESMA(Essential Service maintenance Act).
(b) The government is playing footsie, ESMA hasn't been slapped and the chief minister has called for a meeting, to settle issues, on the 20th.
(c) The nurses have, further, hardened their stand.
(d) The hospitals are in a total disarray with more and more fever cases reporting for admission.
many of the casualty wards resemble a disorderly marketplace.
(e) As a shortcut, some Collector of Kannur has passed orders to the nursing schools
to provide their trainees in the northern districts to take on the roles of nurses in hospitals. This harebrained scheme has since been thwarted by the trainees themselves, the hospitals and the government.

My queries.

* What prevents the government from taking immediate action to solve the problem? I mean, the
   frittering away of so many days shows callousness and insensitivity to the gigantic problem in
* Why can't the hospital managements - who're aware of the actual problem - get their act together
   provide succour to the needy patients by arriving at an acceptable pay package and service
   conditions for the nurses?


To the nurses, I have this one thing to say, "Your fight for the right wages is justifiable but many of you need to reaffirm your faith in your profession by your dedication to the job at hand, perseverance in your duty and the ever needed love towards your patients". 

Sadly, the nurses' high traditions of love and care towards the patients is on the verge of a slow erosion! Business mindedness has set in and I speak from personal observations and the bitter experiences of a few close ones!!

And where's my friend, Rajeev Sadanandan, the Health Secretary who should have been visible with proactive ideas and preventive actions? He's conspicuously absent by his deafening silence! I hope he's in the background, actively fighting the fire!!

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