Kolkata is in a tough spot as nurses quit jobs, leaves city amid Coronavirus crisis

The healthcare sector in Bengal is in the midst of a major crisis as over 300 nurses have resigned from their jobs in the private hospitals and have departed for their hometowns as the country faces a significant surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.

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The Association of Hospitals of Eastern India (AHEI), a non- statutory organisation with 17 private hospitals of Kolkata as it’s members, has requested the Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha to arbitrate in the matter with a way out.

Earlier this week, 185 nurses left for Manipur and on Saturday 169 followed their footsteps. Among them 92 belonged to Manipur, 43 were from Tripura, 32 from Odisha and 2 from Jharkhand.

President of the AHEI, Pradeep Lal Mehta reported that a particular reason for such an action is still unknown. Though some on-duty healthcare workers have told that the state government of Manipur is providing them with a high remuneration to return to the state.

This made Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh take to Facebook to clear out the air of confusion. He wrote, “No such advisory has been issued by the state. We are not asking anybody to return. We feel proud of them as they serve the patients in Calcutta, Delhi and Chennai”.

In a virtual meet, he also said, “We have already said that we will compensate and reward them for treating COVID-19 patients. But if the nurses, doctors don’t feel comfortable in the hospitals where they are working that’s up to them… I cannot force them to stay there. It’s their choice. That might be the reason why they are coming back”.

One of the nurses, who left earlier this week, cited two significant reasons for her resignation. One, safety issues that every healthcare personnel is facing right now and other being parental pressure.

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Another of them informed, “Our parents are concerned and we are stressed as the cases here are rising every day. Our state is a green state and we wish to go back. Our state government is helping us. Family and parents are our priority”.

Some of the private hospitals that are in a quandary amidst the coronavirus crisis are Apollo Gleneagles, AMRI, Fortis, R N Tagore Hospital, IRIS Multi-specialty Hospital, Medica, Charnock and Belle Vue.

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The Health Department has already gathered information about the nurses who have left, including their residential address fro. different hospitals. Simultaneously, the authorities have also been letters regarding this matter.

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