THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At a time Kerala is reeling under the grip of fever, the 16-day-old nurses strike has led to a face-off between the private hospital managements and the protesting unions. While the nurses unions have hardened their stand announcing an indefinite strike from Monday, the Association of Health Care Providers of India (AHPI), a body of speciality healthcare institutions in the state, said all hospitals in the state will scale down their services.
“We have no option but to limit the services if the nurses go on strike. The services will be limited to emergency care and out patient (OP) facility. No new patient will be admitted to the ICU. The situation is getting worse and the indefinite strike would lead to a major crisis,” APHI former president M I Sahadullah told a press meet here on Thursday.
Assuring that dialysis and labour units will function, he said only emergency operations would be conducted. Though the services are being limited, the hospitals will not shut down, said Sahadullah.
Maintaining a hike in salary of the nurses will automatically reflect on healthcare cost, he said patients will have to bear the burden. Noting the association was not against offering a salary hike for the nurses, Sahadullah said the managements are ready for a reasonable and realistic hike that will not affect the healthcare cost.
“We have informed the Chief Minister and Labour Minister we will abide by the decisions taken at the Industrial Relations Committee,” he said.
Sahadullah said the strike has already caused much inconvenience forcing to close down emergency rooms, operation theatres, ICUs and dialysis units in many hospitals. A few of the hospitals have even stopped their out patient services, he said. An indefinite strike will lead to unavoidable distress to the public in view of the fever outbreak in the state, said Sahadullah.
He also said the hospital managements have accepted the IRC recommendation to provide 52 per cent increase in the salary of nurses. Though the hospitals are facing financial difficulties, we accepted the recommendations to avoid difficulties to the patients, he said.