Concerned over nurse exodus, Mamata advises hospitals to train locals for basic jobs

Kolkata, May 18 (PTI) Expressing concern over the exodus of nurses from Kolkata, amid the spurt in COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday advised authorities at the city's private hospitals to look into the option of training local people for basic jobs such as fixing oxygen supply and noting down temperature.

She also advised the medical institutes to call on retired nurses and other healthcare workers and asked them to join service for the time being.

'I have heard that 300-350 nurses have left the state. How will the private hospitals function? It takes two to two-and-half years to train a nurse, and four to four-and-half years to get a doctor. It also takes time to train a technician and prepare a laboratory.

'I have told Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha to talk to private hospitals and consider the option of employing locals after providing them soft training for jobs such as fixing the oxygen supply, giving medicines or noting down temperature of a patient. But they will not help with surgeries,' she told reporters at the state secretariat.

The private hospitals are working in tandem with the government at this hour of crisis, and steps have to be taken to resolve their problems, she said.

'They (the private hospitals) can also train male and female helpers. I think we can create a mobile app to guide these trained locals (during emergencies). We can further ask retired nurses and technicians to fill in for the ones who have left,' the chief minister said.

The retirees may also apply for jobs at state-run hospitals, provided there are vacancies, she said.

Over 350 nurses, mostly from Manipur, Tripura and Odisha, have quit jobs at private hospitals in the city last week and left for their homes amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases.

The sudden exodus of nurses from West Bengal has put the state's healthcare sector in a spot, with the hospitals now limiting the number of admissions and counselling the remaining staff. PTI SCH RMS KJ KJ