Nurses pull an all-nighter to open govt's eyes

Nurses pull an all-nighter to open govt's eyes

Thousands of government nurses, a large number of them women, intensified their week-long agitation for regularisation of their services, as they launched the all-night strike at the Freedom Park on Tuesday evening.

The protesters, affiliated to the Karnataka State Contract Health Workers’ (Staff Nurse) Association, have accused the government of being “indifferent” to their woes. A number of female nurses had brought their children to the venue, and vowed to continue the strike till their demands were fulfilled.

Nagaraju H C, treasurer of the Association, urged the government to regularise the services of all nurses employed on contract basis in government health centres and hospitals.

As many as 1,500 posts (according to the reply to an RTI query) of staff nurses have been lying vacant in various government-run health centres and hospitals across the State. Nagaraju said the government should fill the vacant posts by regularising the services of 4,700 contract nurses, who are employed at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), taluk hospitals and district hospitals.

“Quite a few contract nurses have been serving for several years and are aged above 40. It would only be fair to regularise their services as they cannot apply for any other job because of age restrictions,” Nagaraju said.

A permanent staff nurse is paid Rs 17,142 a month. The length of service during the contract period should be the criterion for regularisation of services, Nagaraju said.

The services of the remaining 3,200 contract nurses should be regularised in a time-bound and phased manner as and when the vacancies arise, he added.

Until then, they should be paid Rs 100 less than the monthly salary of the permanent staff nurses. Nagaraju said, the services of medical doctors, dentists, paramedical staff, etc were regularised in the same manner.

“When the services of other staff can be confirmed, why discriminate against nurses who toil hard,” asked Usharani H S, Vice President of the Association. The protesters said no official from the Health Department visited or gave a concrete assurance.

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