This comes after nurses’ associations announced an indefinite strike from Monday if their demand for wage hikes is not met.

Patients in Thiruvananthapuram to suffer as private hospitals to only run partial services from MondaySreekesh Raveendran Nair
news Protest Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 17:10

Private hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram could come to a near standstill from Monday onwards, even as the state is reeling under a spate of fever deaths. With the nurses’ protest for a wage hike set to intensify, hospital managements have decided to drastically limit their operations from next week.

According to this decision, hospitals will only operate partial services, including emergency services, from Monday onwards. The decision comes against the backdrop of the announcement by protesting nurses that they will launch an indefinite strike from Monday. 

“We won’t be able to function in a full-fledged manner if the nurses don’t turn up for duty. Only emergency services will be operated. All other services will depend on the availability of nurses,” the Executive Director of the KIMS Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram told TNM.

He also criticised the protesting nurses for refusing to accept the salary fixed by the government. “We won’t be able to afford to even pay that. If they insist for a bigger hike in salary that is impossible to accept,” he said.

The nurses’ associations, however, said that they will not step back from the decision to go on strike from Monday. According to some reports, the associations have declared that the protest will be intensified and the Secretariat put under siege on July 21.

Health Minister KK Shylaja warned that if hospitals decide to shut down services, then the government will find ways to deal with it. She also added that the number of fever deaths would only increase if private hospitals refused to cooperate as government hospitals cannot cater to all patients by themselves.

Nurses working in private hospitals in Kerala have been protesting since June, demanding an increase in wages. The government’s Industrial Relations Committee on Monday recommended variable wage hikes, based on the bed strength of the hospitals. However, the associations’ demand for the increase of basic pay to Rs 20,000 for nurses working in all categories of hospitals, has not been approved.

Following this, the United Nurses Association had taken out a massive march to the Secretariat on Tuesday, and had warned that an indefinite strike will be launched from Monday if nurses’ demands are not met.