ER Nurses: IGMH lied in statement addressing petition

Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH). (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

It has come to light that Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has lied in its statement addressing a petition submitted by nurses at the hospital’s ER.

The nurses submitted the petition on June 15, and the hospital released its responding statement on July 30.

According to the statement, the hospital denied taking action against any of the 32 local staff that signed the petition. It also said that the decision to shuffle nurses between different departments had no correlation to the petition.

However, this has been proven flase in light the conversations held by the hospital’s HR with the staff who signed the petition.

Speaking to Sun, some of the nurses who were summoned to HR revealed that they questioned on the policy under which staff were shuffled to other departments. To this, HR responded that the policy was there but cannot be shared.

The nurses further revealed that they retaliated to this by stating that staff cannot be shifted without disclosure of the policy.

Ultimately, HR said that the policy will be shared after drafting.

“Their [HR] mouths were shut completely when we said that. When they did not know what to do in defence, they finally said that the policy will be shared after creating it. We are not people who don’t know anything. Cannot mislead us. From this also, we can be certain that nurses were shuffled because they signed the petition.”

In 2017, from IGMH’s ENT Department, 10 nurses submitted a complaint against the in-charge. This led to all of these nurses being shuffled to other departments. Moreover, no action was taken against the in-charge in question according to the nurses.

During the meeting, the nurses raised this case and said to HR that moving staff that complain around was something that the hospital had previously done based on what happened to the ENT staff.

“We spoke about what happened to the ENT nurses and said that was a form of punishment. To that HR said that when needed, punishments will be given. My question is, are punishments only to be given to take care of a personal grudge? I am confused about what punishment means then.”

Speaking further about the conversation with HR, the nurses revealed that their comment on the ENT case was that those nurses were shifted to maintain peace within the place.

“To which was asked why they were punished. Those nurses submitted the petition based on how they were treated by those in charge. So, shouldn’t they be taking action against those in-charge? When we said that they replied that it was to maintain the peace within the place. We said that isn’t this your acceptance that the nurses were shuffled to other departments as a punishment for submitting the petition.”

As per the nurses, the first memo was sent out to change departments of the nurses that had not been working for at least three years in the ER. But later it was changed and another memo was sent to shift those who had worked under five years.

“This shows that it was targeted at a specific nurse, to remove that particular staff from ER to another department.”

The nurses also claimed that a secret meeting was held about shifting ER staff, during which it was said that this was being orchestrated to move a specific nurse. They said this was confirmed to them by some who attended the meeting.

IGMH had previously said that they were investigating the complaints against the ER in charge per the Civil Service laws and regulations.

When the nurses asked the ER for an update on this investigation, they were told that this information need not be shared with them.

“HR is saying they are investigating. When it is ongoing, you [the nurses who submitted the complaint] do not need to be informed.”

The investigating committee has now taken the statements of the nurses who submitted the complaint.

Sun received a copy of the petition signed by the 32 local nurses. In it, staff expressed concern over several issues, including getting forced to work despite being sick, mismanagement, and ill-treatment of staff.

Moreover, it stated that three nurses suffered miscarriages due to having to extremely hard during their pregnancy.

The nurses said that they are also forced to disclose extremely private information when requesting leave, and complained of a lack of confidentiality.

They also said it was common for them to be forced to work even when on annual leave.