Delhi government plans to hire nurses on contract in state-run hospitals

The health and family welfare department of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government has written to all heads of medical institutions asking for their suggestions for the policy.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

NEW DELHI: In a drastic move that will fully privatize the feeder staff in the healthcare workforce, the Delhi government is formulating a policy to outsource nurses, paramedics, and technicians across state-run hospitals. 

The health and family welfare department of CM Arvind Kejriwal-led government in the city has written to all heads of medical institutions asking for their suggestion and comments for the policy which is planned to get approval in the "near future," the documents accessed by this newspaper stated.

According to the documents, the department has formulated the required job scope, eligibility criteria, remuneration, maximum age limit, etc, as well as terms and conditions for the outsourced positions which will be required to be fulfilled by the manpower agencies, which in this case, will be Public Service Undertakings (PSUs).

The requirements documented by the department for the PSUs include Central or State Undertakings (CPSU) having an office in Delhi; having a minimum of five years of experience in providing manpower to government agencies; having experience providing

manpower if different cadres (doctors, lawyers, hospital support staff, nursing officers, paramedical staff, etc) and should be an ISO 9001: 2008 certified entity. 

The health department further stated in the document that the private agencies will be selected after a bid and will be responsible for assessing the required qualification of the workforce demanded by the government in different healthcare setups.

The move, so far a proposal, has elicited strong reactions from the experts and nursing cadre who said that it will have a lasting impact on public healthcare.

"The decision will affect patient care and breed a nexus of corruption between hospitals and recruitment agencies to profiteer from supplying sub-standard staff," a former director of a top healthcare institute of the city government said.

Registering their protest against the move, the nursing professionals said that despite filling the vacant posts, the AAP government is promoting 'contractualization' which is contrary to their election manifesto.

"Close all schools and colleges of nursing in Delhi as no more is required. Sooner or later, this will happen, and then this is the best time. The recent proposal indicates that the Government of Delhi doesn't want to see nursing as an independent profession but wants nurses to be slaves of the medical profession," said Anita Panwar, President, All India Government Nurses Federation.

Liladhar Ramchandani, President, of the Delhi Nurses Federation (DNF) said the move is against the selection norms set by the government itself. He also asked whether the government can outsource the position of IAS?".

"It is a well-known fact that nursing services are covered under the essential service category. Recruitment in these kinds of services has certain rules which are already in force and which cannot be overlooked while recruiting new nurses," Ramchandani said.

The nursing officers have to pass for Delhi Subordinate Service Selection Board (DSSSB) exam for recruitment against sanctioned posts in hospitals.

"Can you imagine an outsourced IAS for this country? The answer is a big no because that is one of the premier services and their decisions impact the daily lives of the citizens. Similarly, people of Delhi can’t imagine outsourced nurses as they have a fundamental right of good health which should be taken care of by properly trained and qualified nurses, not recruited through some quack or untrained people," Ramchandani added.

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