Hospitals face staff crises as only 500 nurses tend at 2000 medical centres

June 10, 2018


Mansoor Peer


The hospiatls in Kashmir especially those which operate in rural areas and in the peripheries of Srinagar city are in a crises of sorts as only 500 nurses tend to patients at about 2000 health centres.

According to figures of the health department, there are 2102 hospitals across the valley and the sanctioned strength of nurses is 600 only, which is poor given the number of patients visiting the hospitals.

“Out of the sanctioned strength, there are only 500 nurses and the rest of the 100 posts are lying vacant from the last eight years,” an official of the health department said.

The department is grossly flouting the norms set by Medical Council of India (MCI) and Nursing Council of India (NCI). As per MCI and NCI there should be 1:1 (patient: nurse) ratio for each patient for ventilator support, while as at least 1:10 ratio of nurses is recommended in general wards.

“If we look at the norms and the hospitals we are facing worst kind of nurses’ shortage. We have a rough ratio of 1:60 in hospitals. There is a dire need to have mass creation of posts,” the official said.

The last creation of nurses in health department was done in 2010, he said. Officials said that the infrastructure has improved a lot “but there is a need of proper manpower and the nursing staff is important for that.”

“We need to have ICUs in district hospitals that will lower burden on main referral institutions and that is possible only if we have required manpower and nurses are important for that,” he said.

According to officials there are no trained nurses in the department. “If there are skilled nurses they are overburdened. There is another issue in many hospitals especially in district and sub-district hospitals. We have Female Multi Purpose Health Worker (MPHWs) and they are being assigned job of nurses,” he said.

“A nurse should be skilled. She is the backbone of the hospital and there is need of creation in bulk,” the official said.

According to doctors, post-operative nursing care was important and it is nurses’ who manage it. “We lose many important lives because of lack of proper post-operative nursing care,” he said.
An official also said there is one post of matron at JLNM hospital Rainawari which is lying vacant but that has not been advertised yet. He alleged that in the previous government around 100 nurses and 12 posts of matrons were appointed in Jammu hospitals but no such creation was done in Kashmir.

Minister for Health and Medical Education, Dr Devinder Kumar Manyal, said they are soon going to implement a “comprehensive health policy which will help overcome these issues in the hospitals.”
“The draft of the health policy is ready. I have to go through it and discuss it with the department and concerned people. We need to take doctors on board in this regard,” he said.

Manyal said issues would be resolved once there is a policy “on the ground which is still missing and due to lack of which many issues have remained unresolved.”