SRINAGAR: At Lal Ded maternity hospital, nurses were denied access to their washrooms for ten days as a punishment for failing in a ‘test’ conducted by commissioner secretary health on the International Women’s Day.
Around 8 pm on March 8, the commissioner secretary MK Bandari visited the hospital and asked nurses question about the methods of segregating bio-medical wastes.
The nurses, who had not been informed in advance about the visit and the ‘test’, couldn’t answer the questions.
Annoyed, the medical superintendent and deputy medical superintendent of the hospital suspended two nurses and punished the others by locking all three Sisters’ Rooms, having attached washrooms, in the hospitals.
The rooms are meant for about 250 nurses serving in the hospital.
“We admit that we couldn’t answer the questions, but does that justify locking our washrooms? Besides, the room contains some personal stuff that is required by a woman every day. We cannot keep those things them on a public display,” the nurses told Kashmir Reader.
“Some of us are pregnant and they need to use washrooms frequently. But they (hospital administration) didn’t even care about them.”
The nurses said an explanation should have been sought from them for failing in the ‘test’.
“If they really wanted to improve the things, they could even have arranged classes for the nurses,” they said.
The nurses later protested against the punishment and got the suspension order of the two nurses revoked. They also convinced the administration to reopen the washrooms.
The nurses said they are made to look after patients in the wards without the help of doctors and nursing orderlies.
“Doctors sit in their rooms and make nurses to look after the patient. The nursing orderlies who should be helping us are usually busy making tea for the doctors or doing their (doctors’) household chores. We even have to carry stretchers ourselves. We are made to do the job of a security guard,” they said. “However, we never complain out of the fear that they may respond with another illogical punishment.”
The medical superintendent, Dr Mushtaq Rather, however denied that he the washrooms had been locked.
“We have locked the Retiring Rooms or the Sisters’ Rooms, but the issue has been cleared. The nurses are now doing their work,” he said.