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Nurses go on protest, demand authorities to fill up vacancies
Alleging that the crippling shortage in nursing staff was burdening them, especially after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, about 50 staff nurses of Salem Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College and Hospital boycotted work and staged a flash protest on Wednesday. There were only 350 nurses in place of 1,500, alleged the protesters, demanding the authorities to fill up vacancies soon.
“Our workload has increased manifold following a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 patients over the last three months. Currently, there is just one nurse for 80 patients and we are working without a break. Heavy work burden is driving us into depression,” said a nurse.
The shortage of nurses was an issue even before the pandemic broke out, and the issue was taken up with higher officials multiple times. “After raising the issue, the hospital administration deputed low rung workers and lab technicians, but the issue of shortage of nursing staff was not addressed. At least 30 nurses have so far contracted the virus and went on medical leave, which has in turn increased the burden on us. Already, we are just 350 in place of 1,500,” said another nurse.
The agitating nurses alleged that they were also denied proper food and accommodation during quarantine period. “After midnight shift, the nurses have to stay in hotels, where no quality food is given. Also the van to pick up and drop does not come on time, forcing us to wait longer after a tiresome work,” said a nurse.
The nurses expressed anguish that without increasing the staff strength, more wards are being added and the existing nurses were also deputed additionally in newly opened triage centres. Due to such issues, the nurses who willingly volunteered earlier are now refusing to work, they rued.
However, they ended their two-hour long protest after hospital Dean R Balaji Nathan held talks and assured them that their demands would be met soon.
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