COVID-19: LNJP Hospital nurses stage protest against lack of sanitised accommodation, PPE suits
The issue gained emergency after an LNJP nursing officer, who was posted in a COVID-19 positive ward and was also residing at the Dental block, was admitted in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms
The nurses and health staff at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital in Delhi began a protest on Thursday against lack of adequate Personal Protective Equipment and sanitised accommodation during posting and quarantine period.
All the nursing staff who are not currently on duty gathered in front of the administrative block at LNJP Hospital to put forth their demands. As soon as the medical director JC Passey saw them gathering, he left the hospital stating that he had a meeting to attend.
The issue gained emergency after an LNJP nursing officer, who was posted in a COVID-19 positive ward and was also residing at the Dental block, was admitted in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms.
“Through a south Indian AAP worker, we were asked to go meet Gopal Rai, Delhi govt’s minister for employment, development and labour, around 11.30 am this morning. But when we reached his office at Civil Lines, we were informed that he has left. Then we were directed to meet Rajendra Pal Gautam, minister of water. He was also not there. We were told to leave our letter with the security personnel. We knew that there was no point in doing that,” said a person who was a part of the delegation to meet the ministers.
The nurses and the other health workers had initially decided against protesting now. “We decided to go ahead with the protest because we were informed that tomorrow is a gazetted holiday, which means if the issue is not addressed today, it would not be addressed till April 15 as April 14 is also Ambedkar Jayanti. Moreover, the next batch of nurses will be ready for their quarantine by April 14. We need accommodation before that,” said another nurse.
When the nurses began to protest, the additional medical superintendent Dr Pawan came to speak to them. He asked them to adjust and overlook the accommodation issues for one more day. “We refused to do so. We cannot stay in a hall in the Dental Block. Almost 650 nurses will be on COVID -19 duty soon. Will all of us sleep without a care for our safety? He tried telling us that since all of us nurses work together, we don’t need quarantine facilities,” explained a member of the nurses union.
When the nurses pointed out to Dr Pawan that doctors were being given accommodation, he said the Delhi government had done it. “We reminded him that the hospital was under the Delhi government, so he had to speak to them to sort out the issue. They have asked us to wait till the end of the day. We have just heard that rooms at Gujarat Bhawan might be given to us. But, that will not be enough as there are 700 nurses and Gujarat Bhawan has only 75 rooms,” said a nurse, who did not want to be named.
For more than 14 days, the nursing and health staff have been meeting the hospital administration and government officials to request them for the same. Earlier on Thursday, the Delhi State Hospital’s Nurses Union had again written to the medical director of LNJP Hospital requesting for proper quarantine standards to be maintained.
There is only one PPE per nurse station where three nursing staff work, leaving the other two vulnerable to infection. As has been reported by National Herald ) earlier, all the nursing staff have been told to live on one floor in the Dental building on the premises, unlike the doctors who have been given accommodation at Lalit Hotel.