Agencies that provide nursing staff to look after ailing patients at home claim that they insist on a police verification and background check before employing anyone.
"We only employ people who have a house in Maharashtra, so they can't get away with giving us a wrong address," said Shankar Sathe, director of Mankhurd-based Patient Health Care Foundation which has a staff of about 500 paramedical and support staff. "We allot them duties only after they clear the police verification. Sometimes, we also send our supervisors to cross-check their background."
Mulund-based Hari Om Nurses Bureau that provides ward boys and women helpers for home duty also conducts a police verification on its staff. "We even ask for a certificate from the local corporator to establish their credentials," said Hemant Deshmukh, who runs the bureau.
The Maharashtra Nursing Council (MNC) that governs nursing bureaus operating in the state claims it has not received a single complaint of wrongdoing or negligence on part of nurses who are assigned home duties. But there have been cases. "We had an incident wherein a ward boy tried to steal gold from the house where he was posted. We immediately took him to the police station," said Surjeet Kaur, proprietor, Navya Nursing Bureau, Goregaon. "He had no criminal background. We cannot predict an employee's behaviour. But as a precaution, we check their credentials and maintain records to help police in case of an incident."
"The MNC Act allows us [the council] to act against a bureau or a nurse guilty of violations the ethical code of conduct, which includes negligence or any criminal act," said Ramlingam Mali, president of the MNC. He added that patients wanting such services should employ nurses only through bureaus registered with the council. "It is mandatory for these bureaus to employee only qualified nurses registered with the MNC," Mali added.