Medical licence renewal row: Jobs for nurses emerges as key issue in PMC’s standoff with hospitals

State council for nurses claims qualified nurses are either unemployed or poorly paid

pune Updated: Aug 07, 2018 15:09 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,medical licence row
Small hospitals across the city have been accused of hiring under-qualified or unregistered nurses.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

The under-employment or unemployment of qualified nurses in Maharashtra appears to be one of the key issues that is driving civic bodies, such as the Pune municipal corporation (PMC), towards compelling small nursing homes to employ registered nurses.

As reported by Hindustan Times, the PMC has withheld the renewal of medical licences of small hospitals and nursing homes on grounds that their nurses are not registered with the Maharashtra nursing council. PMC’s assistant health officer Dr Vaishali Jadhav, who is in-charge of licence renewal for hospitals, said she has been following the state government directives on the issue.

Ramling Mali, Maharashtra nursing council’s (MNC) president, said that Maharashtra has 2.17 lakh nurses, but due to under-employment and poor salaries, many are unemployed.

“Nurses without registrations work for meagre salaries of Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per month with small hospitals. This is prevalent not only in general wards, but also in intensive care units or operation theatres where unregistered nurses are deputed. Hospitals will have to adhere to the new norms. If they have all the documents, they should immediately produce them without creating any pressure on the local body,” said Mali.

He blamed the doctors and administrators of small hospitals for shying away from the critical issue of employing qualified nurses. “They are fighting with the officials who are responsible for licence renewal, because they have hired under-qualified or unregistered nurses. They fail to understand that by doing so they are putting the public health in danger,” he said.

Dr Jadhav said, “I have been following the state directives which were issued to me early this year. After Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) uproar against the norm and regulation on nurses’ registration with the Maharashtra cursing council for licence renewal, we got back to the state government and even sought an explanation and guidance, but in vain. No officer has reverted back to us and this is only leading to more miscommunication and misunderstanding between us and the hospitals in Pune.”

Senior state government officials, such as Dr Pradeep Kumar Vyas, principal secretary, state health department and Dr Archana Patil, head of the family welfare bureau, did not respond when contacted by HT on the issue.

Dr Jadhav said when associations, like IMA and others, take this matter to other ministries and departments not concerned with health, it amounts to harassment.

She said that the PMC has received directives from the principal secretary of health and family welfare bureau head of Maharashtra. “We will be happy if the doctors and hospitals approach the officials concerned who directed us to implement the regulations rather than meet any other minister or department who is not related to the topic,” she said.

MNC president Ramling Mali who has extended his support to Dr Jadhav said that every nurse needs a registration with the council and every employer has to produce its nurse’s registration documents during the renewal of a hospital’s licence.

The IMA has, however, maintained that the Bombay Nursing Home Registration (Amendment) Act, 2005, does not specify that small hospitals have to employ registered nurses. Also, this criteria was not applied in previous years during the renewal process, doctors with the IMA have said.

Dr Sanjay Patil, IMA hospital board’s chairman, said, there is an acute scarcity of ANM (auxillary nurse midwife) and GNM (general nurses) in the state. Also, there is no gazette on mandatory employment of registered nurses and therefore the matter cannot be enforced. He said that all these years the local bodies did not follow the state directives and were doing so only now, which was strange.

“Dr Jadhav needs to understand the plight of small nursing homes and should go easy on them this year,” Patil urged.

PMC health dept. ignores Maharashtra minister’s directive

Doctors from small nursing homes and hospitals in the city are perturbed by the Pune municipal corporation health department’s refusal to take note of a written directive from the state urban development minister Dr Ranjeet Patil with regards to the issue of pending renewal of hospital licences.

On April 25, an IMA (Indian Medical Association – Pune chapter) delegation met Dr Ranjeet Patil explaining that the PMC’s demand that only registered nurses should be employed by small hospitals, was unreasonable as it was not specified even under the Bombay Nursing Home Registration (Amendment) Act, 2005.

“During the meeting, we put forth our concerns about the delay in the process of licence renewal of hospitals due to additional documents being sought by the PMC. These additional documents include qualification of nurses and whether they are registered with the nursing council,” Dr Sanjay Patil, chairman of IMA’s hospital board of India (Pune chapter) had told this paper in an interview.

He said the minister had asked the PMC officials concerned to abide by the Bombay Nursing Home Act and expedite the process, which, however, has not happened.

In his letter dated May 22, the minister had directed the PMC’s health department to follow the existing norms for issuing licences to the hospitals. “The matter about the employment of registered nurses relates to the public health department of Maharashtra government and may be referred to the department for necessary guidance,” Dr Patil had said in his directive.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 15:02 IST