Government under fire for disengaging 250 nurses in time of pandemic
Srinagar: Amid coronavirus pandemic, the administration has decided to disengage 250 contractual nurses in different Government Medical Colleges of Jammu and Kashmir.
Last year in March, 50 contractual nurses each were appointed for Government Medical Colleges Kathua, Rajouri, Doda, Anantnag and Baramulla under SRO-24.
The government claims to have filled the vacant seats by appointing permanent nursing staff for the colleges. The selection list was fast-tracked by JKSSB given the current pandemic.
However, hospitals will still be understaffed. According to the Medical Council of India Regulations, each hospital needs at least 175 nurses against the 107 recruited.
“Our contract is extendable from one year to six years. The extension is given based on the conduct. This year, the contract was supposed to end on March 10. We have received an extension up to May 10,” said a staff nurse at Government Medical College, Baramulla.
He, however, questioned the government’s move amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“ How would we apply amid the lockdown? Many of us have been working in the COVID-19 isolation wards. Few nurses are in quarantine. What if they turn positive? Is this a reward from the government for our selfless services during this time?” he asked
Surprisingly, the government called retirees and nursing students to serve in the hospitals. The pandemic COVID -19 has laid bare the inadequate medical infrastructure across the world especially in Kashmir. At a time, when medical personnel are required more than ever, the disengagement decision has raised many eyebrows.
“Have received urgent SOS from Jammu nurses that on 12 April, the J&K Government dismissed 181 trained professionals of the Health and Medical Education Department, Jammu including 97 staff nurses & paramedics, amid COVID-19,” tweeted Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor.
Questioning the government’s decision, he asked how frontline warriors against the deadly virus can be fired at the very time when they are needed most.
“These healthcare professionals had been selected under SRO 24 by following a proper procedure and are now being arbitrarily terminated. Please protect them @drjitendraSingh!” he said.
President Nursing Association of Kashmir Parveen Khan said the termination is a blow to the nursing community at a time when their morale is already low due to the ongoing pandemic.
“The order should be revisited. Nurses are at the forefront of the crisis and exposing themselves to the virus to save the life of the patients,” Parveen said.
Financial Commissioner to government Health and Medical Education, Atul Dullo said that the rules for recruitment are clearly defined.
“The contractual faculty had given it in writing they will have no claims to the post once permanent staff is employed. It is an unfounded grievance of those who did not make it to the merit list,” Dullo said.