| The Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal. Picture by UB Photos |
Imphal, June 12: Healthcare services were severely hit at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) here after nurses went on a ceasework today over alleged favouritism in promotion.
Reacting promptly to the development, director of the institute, S. Sekharjit Singh, met leaders of the striking nurses and threatened them with disciplinary action if they failed to report for duty immediately.
The nurses under the banner of RIMS Nurses’ Association struck work at 10am demanding a stay on the promotion of six nurses to the post of assistant nursing superintendent on February 18, alleging that one candidate, Ksh. Binodkumari, was promoted out of turn.
Despite a written appeal by the medical superintendent, M. Amuba, to end the strike and an office memorandum by the director declaring the strike “illegal”, the nurses were not immediately ready to resume work.
The director clarified that he was following the Centre’s reservation norms and the candidate, who belongs to the Scheduled Caste category, was promoted according to the reservation roaster.
The director also said he could not accept the demand that nurses be promoted purely on seniority basis, disregarding reservation policy.
The institute, which is under the Union health ministry, has nearly 500 nurses. Majority of them stopped work from 10am today. The strikers remained gathered at an undisclosed place chalking out future course of action.
The director said bare minimum nursing services were available at the wards and emergency services like operation theatre, intensive care unit. The minimum services were being maintained by nurses appointed on contract and probation.
The director said he would engage senior students of the institute’s nursing college to ensure that the strike did not affect healthcare services.
The absence of nurses was seen in several wards. At one of the male surgical wards, a group of doctors was seen substituting the nurses, administering injections and drips.
“Here we are working as nurses. If the situation continues, we may stop admitting more patients in the surgical wards,” a doctor said.
At the emergency department (casualty), only three nurses were seen providing services though the department was packed with patients.
A nurse on duty said they were facing difficulties as the nursing strength was minimal.
The strike came at a time when deputy director (administration) of the Union health ministry, Y. Rajendra Singh, is on a visit to the institute.
The nurses’ association struck work for five hours on May 27 on the same issue.