23,000 nurses in Maharashtra go on indefinite strike

Feb 25, 2014, 11:40 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

Several surgeries delayed in state-run hospitals due to protest; Nurses’ Federation have put forth a list of demands to be fulfilled by the government

After forewarning an indefinite strike last week due to the government’s apathy, around 23,000 nurses across the state decided to go ahead with their protest from Monday. 

The Maharashtra Government Nurses’ Federation (MGNF) have put forth a list of demands to the state and refuse to back down unless they receive a favourable response to it.

Pushed ahead: JJ Hospital postponed nearly 50 surgeries after nurses went on indefinite strike on Monday. file pic

The first day of the strike delayed several routine surgeries in the state-run hospitals of south Mumbai, including nearly 50 surgeries in JJ Hospital. Hospital authorities posted nursing students at wards and ICUs to attend to patients; a few nurses were present to attend to emergency patients.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Shobha Kardak, the matron at JJ Hospital, said, “To ensure that patients don’t suffer during the strike, we’ve made it a point to post nursing students in the hospital. In addition, 17 nurses were present to attend to emergency cases, despite the strike.”

According to Kardak, one of the demands put forward is sufficient clothing material and medical instruments for patients. “Many a time, we fall short of these basic requirements and have been requesting their supply for quite some time.”

Other demands include a separate directorate, filling the 2,000 vacant posts to reduce pressure on overworked nurses, insurance and centralising the salary system.

“Most nurses are overworked due to staff shortage, and have to attend patients even outside their shift time. The general rule is an eight-hour shift per nurse, but we usually end up putting in longer hours and are constantly under stress,” she added.

The Byculla hospital usually operates with nearly 890 nurses, including nursing students. With a reduced nursing staff, they had to delay their routine surgeries, as nursing students are not trained enough.

Despite several attempts to contact the acting dean of the hospital, Dr Ashok Rathod, he remained unavailable for comment. Meanwhile, GT Hospital at Fort conducted only four minor surgeries, according to Dr D R Kulkarni, themedical superintendent.

Demands put forth by nurses

>> Sufficient clothing and medical instruments for patients
>> Separate directorate to address their issues directly
>> 2,000 vacant posts to be filled in state-run hospitals
>> Certificate courses by teaching hospitals to help fill in vacant positions
>> Insurance to be provided by the government, as nurses constantly face risk of infections
>> Centralised salary system by the central government to reduce salary differences among nurses in different hospitals
>> Discontinuation of inferior short courses offered by private institutes

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