The state president of Tamil Nadu Government Pharmacists’ Association, M Subramaniam and four nurses working in the Government Medical College and Hospital in Karur have been suspended for striking work demanding regulation of work. The nurses and staff resorted to a sit-in protest till late night of June 11, condemning the suspension of their colleagues by the dean of the college.
They have returned to work considering the welfare of the patients after the district collector has promised to revoke their suspension by Monday.
An office bearer of the association while speaking to NewsClick said, “The dean of the college is acting with an autocratic attitude. The nurses were forced to do additional work which they are not supposed to do. They demanded that such measures should be stopped so that they can perform their duties properly. However, the dean suspended them citing the disciplinary proceedings of the state government.”
He also added, “Our office bearers are meeting the concerned department officials in Chennai today and will urge them to fulfil the commitment of the district collector based on which the sit-in protest was withdrawn. If nothing transpires, we will resort to further protests.”
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The nurses of the Karur hospital had boycotted work on June 5 demanding regulation of their work. The Tamil Nadu Medical Recruitment Board Nurses Welfare Association complained that they are being forced to perform duties of the doctors and lab technicians resulting in overburdening. They also alleged that they could not pay attention to the patients due to this.
A nurse who had participated in the strike said, “We are asked to do other works like taking blood samples of in-patients, conducting lab tests and preparing medical reports which are supposed to be done by the duty doctors. This leaves us with lesser time for the patients for which we face the rage of the patients and their family. The nursing superintendent too did not take any action when we lodged a complaint against these activities and hence we were forced to boycott work. This is happening in most of the hospitals across the state and we will plan a state-wide agitation program if work regulation for nurses is not done immediately.”
The government’s apathetic attitude towards the demands of the workers across various sectors is not new in the state of Tamil Nadu. The immediate attention and intervention of the government is needed in a crucial department like health to tackle sensitive issues. There inaction can lead to a crisis in the health department, which will badly affect the poor and marginalised who depend largely on government hospitals and medical colleges for treatment.
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