Kerala nurses call off indefinite stir from Monday

The move comes in the wake of Kerala Private Hospital Management announcing closure of hospitals

However, the United Nurses Association (UNA) said that if its demands for higher wages were not accepted during the talks to be held on July 19, it would continue with the stir.

If the nurses go ahead with their strike plan, private hospitals will have to limit themselves to providing emergency care, said the Association of Healthcare Providers, India, (AHPI) Kerala chapter, the Association of Advanced Speciality Healthcare Institutions, and the Kerala Private Hospitals Association.

On Thursday, private managements running hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram said that the medical services provided by them will be limited from Monday.

Thousands of nurses have been seeking better wages and have also announced that they will launch an indefinite strike from July 17 if their demands are not met.

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"The proposed indefinite strike by the nursing unions in a large number of hospitals will cripple emergency services, operation theatres, Intensive Care Units and dialysis units of many hospitals".

All the government and private hospitals are overflowing with patients. The nurses' unions should have waited till the process initiated by the government for redressing their grievances was over. The court pointed out that Section 3 (1) of the Kerala Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), 1974, conferred on the State government the power to prohibit strike in any essential services if it was satisfied that it was necessary to do so in public interest.

However, hospital managements sought government intervention to tide over the situation. "About 70% of the people in the state depend on medium hospitals, which are mostly functioning in semi-urban and rural areas", said Thangal.

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