As many as 90 surgeries were rescheduled across the medical facilities falling under the ambit of Grant Medical College and Sir Jamshedjee Jeejeebhoy (JJ) Group of Hospitals after 2,000 nurses went on a day-long strike protesting the newly introduced Government Resolution (GR). However, patients visiting the hospitals seeking emergency medical services were treated.

The latest GR makes it mandatory for nurses working at all the state-run hospitals to appear for an examination and clear it if they want to be hired as a permanent employee. The rule is applicable for even those nurses who have been working for decades at a particular hospital. A total of 21,000 nurses from various state-run hospitals across Maharashtra participated in yesterday’s strike. The protest was organised by the Maharashtra Government Nurses Federation.

Speaking to mid-day, Dr TP Lahane, dean of Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital, said, “We provided emergency services to the patients without any difficulty. All the surgeries, about 90, that were rescheduled will commence from tomorrow.”

A resident doctor from JJ Hospital claimed they had to deploy nursing students to fill the void.

Official says
Commenting on the issue, Dr Mohan Jadha, state director of health services, said, “Whatever we are doing, will benefit the nurses. By passing this examination, they can be hired as permanent employees. This will make them eligible for all possible benefits a government employment is entitled to. These exams will be extremely simple and they can appear for it thrice in case of two back-to-back failures.”

Voices of dissent

Sumita Nair, a nurse from JJ Hospital
For years, nurses have worked across numerous state-run hospitals without giving any exam. But just eight days ago, they declare that such appointments are unethical. Even the nurses who are shy of retirement haven’t been spared.

Suman Tilekar, Maharashtra Govt Nurses Federation
We tried to meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during his recent Pune visit and apprise him about the issue. But he didn’t talk to us. After the completion of the initial 18-month bond, a new contract is signed and it lacks mention of any such examination.