A Delhi Hospital Sacked 84 Nurses After They Demanded Protective Gear

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A Delhi Hospital Sacked 84 Nurses After They Demanded Protective Gear
2 min read

The hospital authorities claim that the nurses were let go because their contracts had ended.

New Delhi’s Hakeem Abdul Hameed Centenary Hospital (HAHC) has reportedly sacked 84 nurses – an action that has come soon after the nurses protested against the lack of facilities such as PPE kits, drinking water, and protective masks. 

Complaints of mismanagement

As reported in The Wire, the nurses believe that the authorities terminated their contracts overnight because they had been raising their voices against the poor management of the COVID-19 ward, and this conflict between the two parties had been ongoing for over 15 days. The nurses were protesting against violations such as lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits (they were given low-quality kits that did not entirely cover the neck area), lack of N95 masks (they were given 3M pollution masks instead), and no drinking water. The nurses stated that drinking water facilities were installed merely 3-4 days ago, after much protesting. 

Apart from this, the nurses were also protesting against poor quarantine facilities for the staff. In the letter penned to the management on June 23rd, they had complained that they had been denied COVID tests and adequate quarantine facilities after shifts. 

According to reports in the Times of India, the nurses said that they had received their termination letters at 8:15 pm on their department WhatsApp group with no prior knowledge – these nurses were on duty when they received the message. A nurse told TOI that the management had asked the nurses to continue despite having known that their contracts were coming to an end, but were suddenly terminated.

While it is true that hospital management has the authority to decide whether they want to renew contracts, employees are given one month’s advance notice before termination of contracts.

The hospital authorities denied the claims and said that the nurses’ contracts had expired; the nurses disagree.

The Nursing Superintendent (NS) of the HAHC said in an interview with The Wire that the hospital was merely following protocol – the nurses had not been terminated, but had been relieved because their contracts had come to an end. She also went on to say that the nurses have been called for fresh walk-in interviews to renew their contracts, as per protocol. 

The structural changes required to be made when the bed capacity was asked to be increased – from 30 to over 200 – by the Delhi government were still in process, the NS admitted. Things like lighting, painting of walls, etc. were some things that still needed to be completed.

Speaking of the lack of quarantine facilities, the NS said that proper arrangements have always been in place. She also said that at least 40 out of the 84 nurses have been issued fresh contracts, but some nurses believe that these contracts have only been issued because of pressure put on hospital management by the nurses’ union.

The IPNA and the UNA are two organisations that are helping the staff raise their demands. Member of parliament and CPI leader, Binoy Viswam, wrote a letter to New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on July 13th, saying that the nurses should be reinstated if the hospital is not able to justify this unprecedented move.

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Three words Kanksha would associate herself with are: food, feminism, and entertainment. A gender studies major, Kanksha enjoys juggling academic knowledge with practical application. When she’s not busy modifying popular recipes to her liking, she can be found reading two books at a time (because there are just so many) or watching films to catch up with what's popular. Her personal nightmares include a world without dogs, running out of good tea, and word limits.

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