Nurses at Kasturba hospital underpaid, overworked

Biometric system of recording attendance misses work days and shifts, hospital cuts salaries.

sonal

Sonal Matharu | July 29, 2010



The biometric system of attendance at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) Kasturba hospital for women and children has added to the woes of the nurses working there. According to senior nurses in the hospital, who did not want to be named, all electronic machines installed for marking attendance do not store the same data and some of the staff’s attendance is not recorded. This leads to deduction in their monthly salary.

“Some machines show our thumb impressions and some do not. The data in the machines is incomplete and some machines show invalid entry when we press our thumbs. Our attendance is not marked for the day and our salary is deducted because at the end of the month, only those days are counted where we are marked present,” said one of the senior staff nurses on condition of anonymity.

Though the senior hospital administration officers admit failure of the biometric system, there is no inclination to work on improving it. They also refuse to go on record and tag it as a “minor specific issue”.

The nurses have not received salary for the past two months now and they say there is no other way to maintain attendance records in the hospital. “We got our May month’s salary in July,” said one of the nurses.

Besides recording attendance, the department of staff nurses is short-staffed and if a nurse does double-shift to fill up for her colleague on leave, there is no system in the hospital to mark their double work shift.

“We have posts for 200 nurses in the hospital and out of that over 50 are vacant,” said Dr P R Dhokeria, additional medical superintendent, Kasturba Hospital.

He added that some nurses are appointed by the hospital but they do not join. They are now looking for private contractors who can fill the posts.
 

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