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Private hospital nurses hopeful that their plight may end soon

There is a good news for more than 8,000 overloaded and ill paid nurses of private nursing homes in Madhya Pradesh as the central government has directed to ensure private nurses’ “equality” with their counterparts in state-run hospitals.

bhopal Updated: Sep 25, 2016 14:51 IST
Bhopal, India - September 23, 2016: Nurses demonstrating in Hamidia hospital premises for their demands in Bhopal, India.
Bhopal, India - September 23, 2016: Nurses demonstrating in Hamidia hospital premises for their demands in Bhopal, India. (Chandresh Mathur/ Hindustan Times)

There is a good news for more than 8,000 overloaded and ill paid nurses of private nursing homes in Madhya Pradesh as the central government has directed states to ensure private nurses’ “equality” with their counterparts in state-run hospitals.

In a communication to principal secretaries of all states on September 20, the Centre directed them to formulate legislation to this effect and report back to it by October 20.

The order is result of a long legal battle in the Supreme Court for basic human and work rights. Nurses in private hospitals may get a minimum salary of `20,000 a month. Besides, they are likely to get medical, transportation and accommodation facilities.

The nurses working in private hospitals in the state have been complaining that there are no proper work facilities and schedules.

“Extreme work load and erratic duty hours have ruined our lives. We work much beyond the criteria of labour laws for a very meager salary. We hardly have a personal or social life. If only the private hospitals here follow the directive then we will be in a much better position,” said a nurse working in a private hospital.

“Nurses in government hospitals get a minimum salary of `26,000, while nurses in private hospitals get `8,000 to 10,000 a month,” said the nurse, adding that nurses in private hospitals need to work for more than 12 hours.

Patients at private hospitals demand prompt service as they pay a hefty amount, Dipti, a nurse said. “Apart from the extremely tedious job, the work environment is also is very stressful,” Dipti said.

Deepika Kataria, Galaxy Hospital’s quality manger, said, “There is 8-hour shift in private hospitals. But shift time goes up to 12 hours in many hospitals, for which nurses in our hospital get extra payment. Depending on experience, the salary is decided. The minimum is `8,000 – 9,000. We do have PF account and health insurance for our nurses.”

National Health Mission, deputy director in the state, Pankaj Shukla said, “The private premium hospitals give proper payment and facilities to their nurses. They also select nurses after a lot of scrutiny whereas the smaller hospitals hire nurses from mushrooming nursing colleges, where proper training is not given.

“Thus, the students also readily join for a meager salary due to lack of skills and qualification. The centre’s directive will also ensure the demand of trained nurses in private hospitals which might improve the health facilities in our state.”

The Centre issued the directive after a report by a union health and family welfare ministry committee that working conditions and pay of nurses in private hospitals were “pathetic”. The committee was set up following a Supreme Court order on January 29.

BOX

Directive of the centre for private hospital nurses –

*Working hours, medical facilities, transportation, accommodation and other benefits given to private nurses would be at par with government nurses.

*The salary given to private hospital nurses should not be less than `20,000 per month in any case even for nurses working with hospitals with less than 50 beds.