Covid-19: Delhi nurses demand reserved beds for themselves, their families
Staff associations of several hospitals in the national Capital have demanded reserved beds for themselves and their family members, who test positive for Covid-19, as infections continue to multiply in Delhi.
The All-India Government Nurses’ Federation on Thursday wrote to Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital requesting the authorities to make a “firm policy” for admission of nurses and their family members, after the relatives of two nurses at the hospital died for the want of treatment.
At least two nurses and a technician at Lok Nayak Hospital succumbed to the infection this week.
According to the federation, over 250 nursing and technical staff members of RML Hospital have tested Covid-19 positive at their hospital in the past month. Similarly, the nursing staff at GTB Hospital said over 150 nurses and frontline workers have contracted Covid in the past few weeks.
In a letter addressed to the RML Hospital medical superintendent Rana AK Singh, the federation on Thursday alleged that sick nurses and their immediate family members were being denied admissions.
“You are requested to make a proper and firm policy for admission of nurses and their family members. Some separate space/floor should be allocated for this purpose. Their lives are also equally important to run the hospital in the future. We cannot afford to lose a single nurse in this battle with corona as there is already a shortage of nurses in the health care system. You are requested to look into the matter seriously and make necessary arrangements for nurses at the earliest,” GK Khurana, the secretary-general of the federation, said in his letter.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Union ministry of health directed the three central government hospitals in Delhi - including RML and Safdarjung -- to ensure that health care workers who contract Covid-19 are provided immediate treatment.
A member of the RML Nursing Union, who wished not to be named, said, “Although RML Hospital issued an order regarding prioritising staff’s treatment earlier, it has not been implemented yet. On Tuesday, a nurse, who is Covid positive, had to spend a night there to admit her mother who is also infected with the virus. She had to run from ward to ward looking for a bed for her mother, even as she herself grew weaker.”
“The hospital should allot some separate space or floor for the staff members immediately,” she added.
Despite repeated attempts, Singh did not respond to calls and texts sent for comment.
On Wednesday, a nursing officer at GTB Hospital wrote to their medical superintendent raising the same concern. He alleged that an unwell nursing officer was not allowed to transfer to his ward despite a bed being available on Wednesday night and was asked to produce a letter from the chief medical officer (CMO). “We request you to prioritise health workers and their dependents for admission in our hospital... if health care workers are not allowed admissions, then why are we working as front-line warriors,” he said in the letter.
Dr Anil Jain, the in-charge of all Covid-19 related management at GTB Hospital, did not respond to calls and texts seeking comment.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government’s Lok Nayak hospital on Wednesday issued an order clarifying that hospital staff will be admitted at their facility and no permission from the administration was necessary. “It is again clarified that all employees, doctors, nursing staff, paramedical staff, and health care workers of Lok Nayak Hospital, including their parents, must be admitted without any permission from the hospital administration or CMO or CCMO,” said medical director Suresh Kumar in the order.
At least three nurses at Lok Nayak have succumbed to the infection in the past three weeks, hospital officials said.