Editorial|Inadequate Nursing Care

One of the main causes for lack of proper healthcare has been the virtually perennial shortage of trained nursing staff in different hospitals and health centres. It has been reported after a thorough survey that there is a severe shortage of nursing staff in spite of a large number of trained nurses available in the whole state.

According to Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS), the J & K hospitals should have 3193 nurses on rolls, but there are only 1290 sanctioned posts of nurses. Of the sanctioned posts there are only 857 nurses in place, while as 433 posts are vacant. As per Indian Nursing Council standards, J&K hospitals require 2,635 nurses to run patient care smoothly. However, only 1,410 nursing posts are at present sanctioned by the health department.

Reportedly, as compared to tertiary-care hospitals, the hospitals associated with Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar are in a dismal condition.

Official documents have also pointed out the dire need for 1,526 paramedics in primary health centres, community health centres, and hospitals. Most of the paramedics, especially nurses, are overburdened as they are working for long hours. The norms of the MCI and NCI, which recommend one nurse for one patient in ICUs and one nurse for four patients in general wards, are not fulfilled.

For some unknown reasons the government apathy towards nurses working in different hospitals has has resulted in immense hardships not only to them but to the patients whose care round the clock they are supposed to take. Recently the government has sanctioned five new medical colleges for which staff, including the nursing staff, is being presently recruited. The staff is supposed to be recruited on fast track. 

The new medical colleges are coming up in Doda, Kathua, Anantnag, Baramulla and Rajouri districts. It has been observed that the recruitment is open to people from all districts. It has been usually observed that the staff, including doctors, avoid going outside Srinagar.

Not to talk of rural areas, some even avoid posting in district headquarters and often get themselves attached to the Srinagar Medical College even though their salaries are drawn from rural postings. It would be advisable for the authorities recruiting staff for new medical colleges to give preference to the trained persons available in respective districts.

It would ensure a better nursing and care to patients admitted to hospitals attached with the new medical colleges. There is urgent need for the government to review this subject of inadequate nursing care and take urgent corrective measures. 

Government also needs to check the status of the trained nursing staff in private hospitals functioning in different parts of the state. These too need to be brought on the standards fixed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare both in terms of the proper healthcare of the patients as well as the emoluments given to them.