Nursing unions to Govt: We want to be “active decision makers” in framing policies


Eleven unions representing nurses have written an open letter to the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya seeking participation in the framing of policies involving their workforce.

The Union Health Ministry had released draft guidelines in August this year, to address the working conditions of nursing personnel across public and private sector establishments.

Welcoming the government’s initiative to address their working conditions, the letter expressed disappointment at not being “active decision makers” in framing the policies.

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The letter said, “we note with great disappointment that the government developed this draft without any consultation with the unions and associations that represent the nursing workforce of the country.” Further, it added, “The process of written submission regards us as passive participants, whereas the nursing workforce should be active decision makers to provide substantive inputs in developing the draft.”

The lack of nurses representation is reflected in the current draft, the letter said. It touches upon some existing concerns of the nursing workforce “but fails to effectively address several key concerns including, mandating nurse to patient ratios, addressing the issue of increasing contractualisation in private hospitals, any accountability measures, especially for the private sector to ensure implementation of the provisions, among other gaps,” it added.

“A policy on working conditions of nursing personnel will be crucial in setting standards for the sector and requires more extensive planning and consultation, especially with the nursing workforce who have expertise in identifying relevant concerns and ways in which they can be addressed” the letter said.

Raman Kannan, PSI (Public Services International) sub-regional secretary for South Asia said in a statement, “Nurses deserve more than applause. They deserve no less than their right to secure and safe working conditions, living wages, training and professional development. They deserve respect and to have their collective voice respected when forming policies that impact on them.” 

On the plight of nurses in the private sector, United Nurses Association (UNA) Maharashtra State President, Jibin TC alleged, “Nurses in the private sector face some of the worst working conditions. It is high time that they are given their dues beyond the rhetoric clapping of hands”.

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