Nurses' strike affects services at govt hospitals

Medical services at several government hospitals in the City were affected on Tuesday with the strike by nurses appointed on contract basis entering the seventh day.

The contract nurses, a majority of them working at Victoria, Vani Vilas, Minto and Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospitals have been staging dharna at Banappa Park since January 9 demanding regularisation of their services. With most of the nurses keeping away from work, services at these hospitals were severely affected.

According to sources in the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, of the 180 nurses in the hospital, 124 work on a contract basis.

The hospital had to defer several surgeries and ask nurses on regular appointment to extend their shift timings and work on holidays as well. On Tuesday, over 450 nurses affiliated to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) Stipendiary Staff Nurses’ Welfare Association boycotted their work.

Victoria Hospital has 140 nurses working on contract basis and the stir affected health services here too. Doctors at the hospital said regular nurses have been working three shifts instead of two to make up for staff shortage.

The BMCRI has asked final year nursing students and interns to render assistance in hospitals.

B Manjunath, president of the Association, alleged that the State government had neglected their long-pending demand for regularisation of their services. “The government has invited applications to fill 600 vacancies of nurses. Our only request is to recruit 450 contract nurses and fill the remaining vacancies through fresh appointments,” he said.

Veena Lokesh, another member of the Association said they were not willing to appear for common entrance test and interviews for appointment since they already have experience. She said the Sixth Pay Commission recommended the government to pay 75 per cent of the regular salary to contract nurses last April and the employees had not received the payment till date.

Dr O S Siddappa, Dean and Director, BMCRI, said there was no provision in the Cadre and Recruitment Rules to regularise the services of health workers serving on contract basis.
“Only the Cabinet can take a decision in this regard. However, contract nurses can apply for the vacant posts and appear for the Common Entrance Test,” he said.

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