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Tamil Nadu: Off-duty nurses at Ramanathapuram Government Hospital stage protest over unofficial transfers

The nurses alleged that two of their colleagues were suddenly transferred to taluk units, because they questioned the quality of food served to nurses serving quarantined patients

Rameswaram: Opposing the ‘sudden’ transfer of two senior male nurses from the Ramanathapuram headquarters hospital to taluk units in the district, about 50 nurses resorted to a demonstration by sitting in front of the Government Hospital on Saturday early morning. Representatives of the agitating nurses, affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Nurses Association (Ramanathapuram branch), told journalists that substandard food was served to quarantined nurses, who had worked in the COVID-19 ward. “Last week, two of our colleagues complained of vomiting and diarrhoea,” a nurse alleged, adding that authorities had dismissed the issue.

The nurses said that they had a strong suspicion that those who questioned the quality of food have been shifted out of the hospital. They charged that two senior staff nurses were “unilaterally” transferred to hospitals in Tiruvadanai and Rameswaram, which do not have isolation wards. The transfers have come at a time when more people from different parts of the district have tested positive for COVID-19 and are approaching the GH, they alleged.

An office-bearer of the association, requesting anonymity, said they were on a sit-in protest adhering to physical distancing, and with face masks. The agitating nurses also said that only those who were not on duty were participating in the demonstration.

When contacted, an officer in-charge of the hospital administration said that the transfer of the two male nurses was a routine one and for administrative reasons. The complaint that the food was sub-standard had been immediately attended to by officials responsible last week itself. There was no other issue, he maintained.