After weeks of demanding that nursing staff be allotted separate accommodation at Lok Nayak hospital, which is now a COVID-19 hospital, the nursing staff were Thursday told that at least 72 rooms have been set aside for them at the Gujarati Samaj in Civil Lines. This came a few hours after nursing officers protested outside the medical director’s office.
Jeemol Shaji, general secretary of the nurses’ union at Lok Nayak hospital, said, “In the 72 rooms, there will be double occupancy, so at least 144 nurses can stay there. Apart from this, we have been assured that by Wednesday, another 160 rooms will be arranged for the nurses. In all, there are 1,300 nursing staff at Lok Nayak.”
A nursing officer The Indian Express spoke to said that “while doctors were provided accommodation at five-star hotels days ago, the nursing staff was ignored. Why are we expected to return home to our families?”
Another nursing officer said that while many would return home after finishing their duty, some would stay at the dental college next door. The nursing officer said she refused to live there as over 10 people were staying in the same room, and shared toilets. “My colleagues would have to stand near the tap and take a bath. If one nurse in that room gets coronavirus, all of them might get it. I go home and isolate myself but it’s hard,” said the nurse. Those staying at the dental college will now move to the Civil Lines accommodation, as the college is being turned into a COVID-19 ward.
An official at the Delhi government’s health department said that arrangements have been made by the government to accommodate nurses from Lok Nayak Hospital at the Gujarati Samaj at Rajniwas Marg, Civil Lines, which is approximately 15 minutes away from the hospital. “The rooms have been made ready and they will be shifted tonight or tomorrow,” said the official. Meanwhile, Nitin Acharya, General Secretary, Shri Delhi Gujarati Samaj, said that over 70 rooms have been set aside for the nurses. “We have been preparing the rooms and getting them cleaned since the government conveyed the message to us on Thursday night. We are ready to host the nurses and are waiting for government guidelines on how to sanitise the rooms and go ahead with the plan,” he said.
A nursing officer who went to check the accommodation on Thursday evening said that due to the lockdown, the place had not been cleaned for a while, and some hospital staff too helped clean the rooms. A senior nursing officer said that apart from accommodation, a lack of PPEs, long shifts, and inadequate transportation facility remained concerns.
(With inputs from Ashna Butani)
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