Concern over low nurse-patient ratio in govt hosps

The nurse patient ratio at the government hospital wards remain to be a major issue for the doctors as female nurses are given a maternity leave of nine months but no substitute is provided to the hospitals. The hospitals sometimes have a 1:40 nurse patient ratio as there are less number of nurses and it is difficult to manage the patients.
Concern over low nurse-patient ratio in govt hosps
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After the request by the State government, doctors and nurses have been allowed nine months’ maternity leave instead of the three months’ maternity leave. However, the government did not make any provisions to provide substitutes for the nurses on maternity leave.

The hospital authorities say that though they require nurses trained in a particular speciality, even the regular nurses are less in number. “In case of cancer patients, it becomes difficult for regular nurses to take care of the patients as they are not trained in the field. Similarly, nurses trained in handling patients of a particular speciality help in a better medical management,” says Dr Aruna Rajendran, hematology, Institute of Child Health.

Doctors at the government hospitals say that most of the nurses being appointed are usually in their reproductive age and thus, there is a large percentage of nurses who are likely to take a maternity leave during their appointment period. As per the senior medical officers at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, nurses were being appointed by the hospital authorities from private agencies to fill in the places of the nurses on maternity leave. However, the senior officials objected to the same because the medical recruitment board is ideally the authorized agency to undertake the recruitment of the nurses.

When contacted, the officials from the medical recruitment board said that the nurses are on full pay even when on the maternity leave, there is no separate allocation of the appointment of the more number of nurses. However, any changes can be made only after the orders from the State government.

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