KOLKATA: At least 185 nurses hailing from Manipur and working in private hospitals in Kolkata have left for their home state after resigning from their jobs following the recent spike in the number of coronavirus cases here, sources said on Friday.
This will add to the prevailing shortage of nurses in the facilities here amid the ongoing the COVID-19 pandemic, said a senior official of a private hospital from which nine nurses have quit.
Apart from feeling unsafe staying in the city after the number of coronavirus cases and deaths due to the disease started rising, the nurses from the Northeastern state, which has only one active case now, chose to quit their jobs because of pressure from their parents to return home, sources in various private hospitals in the city said.
"Our parents are concerned and we are also quite stressed when the cases are rising everyday here. Our state is a green state and we feel going back home. Our state government is helping us. Family and parents are our priority," one of the nurses who resigned said when contacted over the phone.
No confirmation can be made from the government about its "help".
The number of active cases in West Bengal rose to 1,407 on Friday.
A total of 153 people have died directly due to COVID-19 in the state so far and 72 others succumbed because of other comorbidity conditions where the presence of coronavirus was incidental.
"If we remain alive, we will get another job," the nurse told PTI on condition of anonymity.
Nurses from Manipur have started leaving since Monday in buses and small vehicles, sources said adding that after they reach their home state, they will be sent for home or institutional quarantine.
Apart from the 185 who have left, 132 others are scheduled to return to Imphal taking a transit route through Assam and Nagaland, according to a well-placed source.
"We apprehend there will be a significant crisis, as more and more nurses are leaving the city for home. Since occupancy is low across all hospitals, we will be able to manage now. But once planned surgeries restart full-fledged, we will feel the pinch," AMRI Hospitals Group CEO Rupak Barua said.
There has always been a shortage of nurses in West Bengal due to lack of sufficient nursing colleges and this has led to a huge demand-supply gap, said Barua who is also the chairman of the Healthcare Sub-committee, CII Eastern Region.
"We have been dependent more on nurses from other states, particularly from Manipur, Tripura and other Northeastern states, along with Kerala," he said.
Some of the facilities of Kolkata that are facing the crisis include Charnock Hospital where 27 nurses resigned, followed by 25 in Peerless Hospital, 16 in Fortis Healthcare, 11 each in IRIS Multispeciality Hospital and Bhagirathi Neotia Woman and Child Care Centre, and 10 each in Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals and Sri Aurobindo Seva Kendra, sources said.
There are several other hospitals in and around Kolkata where Manipuri nurses have quit their jobs and left for their homes.
Meanwhile, the supervisor of a health centre, which was supposed to be made a COVID-19 testing centre in Jalpaiguri district, died after allegedly consuming pesticide, police said on Friday.
It is claimed by those close to the deceased that he was facing opposition from a section of the health centre employees after the district authorities asked him to set up a COVID-19 testing centre.
Superintendent of Police Avisek Modi said a suicide note was found from the room of the deceased Debashis Chakraborty who was the supervisor of Ghughudanga Health Centre and a probe has been launched to ascertain the circumstances behind his death.
Chakraborty had allegedly consumed pesticide on Thursday and then jumped into a well on the courtyard of his residence.
He was taken to a nearby hospital where he died, the SP said.
The Indian Medical Association, Jalpaiguri unit, demanded a probe into the death of Chakraborty.
Asked about the claims that he was under stress due to opposition by a section of the staff over setting up of the Covid-19 testing centre, IMA (North Bengal) Coordinator Dr Susanto Roy said, "Covid testing centre is for diagnosis of the disease and not for spreading the virus.
This must be clear to everyone.