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Karnataka government terminates 400 nurses' contracts

Written by Admin |Published : February 19, 2013 9:46 AM IST

In a shocking move, the Karnataka state government terminated the contracts of 409 nurses attached to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) Stipendiary Nurses Welfare Association. This will result in severe staff crunch for the four big government hospitals Victoria Hospital, Vani Vilas Hospital, Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital and Minto Eye Hospital. The nurses had been waiting from February 4 for the government to sign an order which would ve permitted them to resume their duties.

We called off the strike on January 29 after BMCRI officers said our demands will be met. All these days we were kept in the dark, waiting for the minister to sign the order. Now, they have left us in the lurch. We are from poor families and many of us are sole breadwinners. We have worked on contract for 5-6 years. Where do we go now, asked Asha R, a member of the association.

Earlier in January, the nurses had gone on strike to demand regularisation of their services. They had been working a monthly stipend of Rs 7,000 for the last five to six years and they had even gone on a hunger strike and over one hundred nurses were arrested on Jan 16 for trying to barge into the BMC.

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This is the sort of apathy on part of our bureaucrats and leaders that is responsible for the country s anaemic healthcare scenario, particularly in government hospitals. Nurses and paramedics form a very important part of the services offered by hospitals and the way they re treated shows us that there is little respect for the efforts they put in.

Whether it s punishment for protesting against the government is hard to explain because it s clear that their demands weren t unreasonable at all. The aforementioned nurses are part of healthcare fabric of the country and their efforts needed to be appreciated. The problem with healthcare delivery in this country isn t the lack of resources but the lack of human power. While as many as 1.63 lakh doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners pass out each year, but they are mostly concentrated in urban centres. The ones that end up in the public sector are treated so badly they end up leaving for greener private pastures and that includes completely institutionalised organisations like the Armed Forces. The only way forward is properly regulate and pay for the service provided by all the medical practitioners. This is the reason, you and I, pay taxes!

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