Anantnag: The authorities at maternity and child hospital (MCH) Anantnag have “illegally” allowed dozens of female nurses to work voluntarily in the hospital at the cost of pockets of the patients.
The lone maternity hospital of southern Kashmir region is not only facing space cruncha but dearth of staff as well. To overcome the dearth of staff, the authorities have allowed dozens of female nurses to work in the hospital. Most of these nurses have been recommended by the local politicians.
“These nurses are looting the attendants of patients who deliver babies in the hospital. In the name of ‘chai’ (a less offensive term for bribe in Kashmiri) these nurses virtually peel off the skin of attendants,” said an insider.
The nurses, having the patronage of locals politicians from all the parties including BJP, PDP, NC and Congress have fixed different rates for babies on the basis of their gender.
“If a woman delivers a baby boy they demand not less than 2000 rupees and in case of baby girl they demand 1000 to 1500,” a hospital source said.
It is not only these volunteer nurses but the permanent and senior nurses are also involved in the loot of patients after they give birth to babies.
“In case of a normal delivery they demand ‘chai’ from the attendants separately. They have legalised this corruption in the hospital and the hospital authorities have failed to curb it,” hospital sources said.
“They earn more than the salaries of permanent employees of the hospital. Each one of them has the monthly income of 20000 to 25000 rupees which is an indication of how they loot the patients in the name of ‘ Chai’. Most of the women visiting the hospital for deliveries are from poor or low income families but the nurses don’t spare anyone,” said a doctor posted in the hospital.
A health official blamed the attendants of patients for not cooperating with the hospital authorities.
“Whenever any attendant comes to us with a complaint about the nurses demanding bribe we immediately act. Many a time we ensured that the attendants are paid back the money that the nurses have collected from them. But some times attendants only come and complain but refuse to identify the nurses involved. In such a situation what can we do. It is the attendants who have to clearly refuse to give any bribe in the name of ‘chai,” the official said.
The hospital authorities, an insider said, also don’t dare to shunt these nurses out from the hospital even after frequent complaints against them as most of them have been recommended for volunteer jobs by the local politicians.
Medical superintendent, MCH, Dr Mohammad Yusuf Zagoo said that the hospital is facing severe staff crunch.
“Many of these nurses are working on hospital developmental fund (HDF) while others are working voluntarily to gain experience. We are running short of Para-mefical staff and it is because of these nurses we manage to handle the huge influx of patients,” the MS said.