PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department on Thursday issued a ‘charge sheet’ against 150 nursing students for taking part in the ‘illegal’ protest by the District Nursing Association, saying they’re liable to be rusticated.
A handout issued here at night said disciplinary action was also being contemplated against staff members and nurses for taking students on the roads out of their ulterior motives and leaving workplaces in contravention of the government’s rules.
It said the blockade of roads by student nurses was illegal as they had furnished an undertaking at the time of admission that they wouldn’t take part in strikes.
“Under Para 22 and sub-para B of the prospectus, they are charged and liable to rustications by the disciplinary committee,” it said.
Health dept also mulling action against nurses for leaving hospitals without permission
The handout said the department, which took notice of the strike, also ordered the immediate closure of nursing schools in Peshawar and ordered the respective administration to vacate the hostel forthwith.
It said the department expressed concern that despite more invectives to all health department’s employees than any other government in the province’s history and only last month, Rs640 million was allocated for Rs10, 000 per month health professional allowance for nurses.
The handout said the dress allowance for nurses in BPS-16 was increased from Rs600 to Rs3,100 and mess allowance from Rs500 to Rs8,000 and Rs2,100 for BPS-17 instead from Rs600 only a few months ago by the government was meant to improve patient care at the hospitals.
“The senior nurses not only left the premises of their respective hospitals without permission but also forced students to go onto the roads instead of remaining in schools,” it said.
The handout said the government wouldn’t allow anyone to hinder healthcare delivery and make the people suffer, and was going to announce disciplinary action against them.
It said the government had approved service structure for nurses.
“Nursing students don’t have any right to take part in strike instead of focusing on studies in the schools established by the government to train people and provide effective care to the patients at the public sector’s hospitals,” it said.
The handout said instigating nurses for strike and hampering healthcare was a violation of the hospital staff members’ employment bond, which required them to concentrate on patient care instead of indulging in illegal activities.
“Those defying the service rules wouldn’t get away with their wrongdoings,” it said.
The handout said the nursing students received stipend and free education and accommodation in hostels and that those failing to comply with the government’s rules would end up being rusticated.
Earlier in the day, nurses of main hospitals marched through the city before staging a sit-in outside the provincial assembly to demand service structure, better health professional allowance, and changes in promotion rules for themselves.
Dozens of nurses from the Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex joined nursing staff at the Lady Reading Hospital from where they all marched to the provincial assembly.
President of the nurses association Farrukh Jalil said nurses didn’t accept Rs10,000 health professional allowance announced by the government and wanted it to be equivalent to that of doctors.
She criticised the government for not offering them salary commensurate with their work and asked the health department to accord priority to the resolution of their problems to improve patient care.
The protesters staged a sit-in outside the provincial assembly on the Khyber Road.
In Mingora, the members of the nursing staff of the Saidu Group of Hospitals boycotted duty and staged a demonstration to demand one-step post upgradation and better health professional allowance.
They shouted slogans against the government for ‘ignoring them.’
“We are professionals but the government has put us in the list of paramedical and non-professional staff. We demand of the government to increase our health professional allowance in line with our scale,” Swat Nursing Association president Bahar Khan told reporters.
He said in 2014, nurses were given compensatory allowance but the current government stopped it.
“The amount of student scholarship for nursing staff is very little. We demand increase in its number besides making it equal to the basic pay,” he said.
The nursing association president said the government should revise their service structure and implement the service structure with the time scale and service rules.
“The government has increased the salary of doctors with several other facilities but the nursing staff members have been completely ignored in an act of injustice,” he said.
Swat Nursing Association general secretary Akhtar Sultana said nurses remained present in the hospital round the clock and served patients with devotion but they’re not given the facilities they deserved.
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2016