Nurses in the State are in an uproar over a recent health department circular that stipulates that nursing staff – owing to their knowledge of medicine – must assist pharmacists in government healthcare centres.
The Trained Nurses Association of India’s Gujarat branch, which has close to 12,000 members, have contended the move stating that nurses were involved with patient care and cannot be mandated to assist pharmacists as part of their duties.
Aletter issued by the apex body called for a rollback of the decision, citing that nursing was an ‘independent profession’ and nurses were not paramedical staff that could assist pharmacists.
The circular in question was issued by the Additional Director of Medical Services in the health department on September 5, instructed that services of nursing staff having knowledge of medicines be used to assist pharmacists at primary health centres, community health centres and government hospitals in listing daily stock on e-software, to make register entries, create annual indents and make weekly-monthly reports. Sources close to the development also mentions that the circular came after Gujarat Pharmacy Association demanded data entry operators from health officials.
TNAI (Gujarat) Secretary Kirankumar V Domadia said the move was an ‘injustice’ to the profession. “Currently there is 30% shortage of nurses in State’s public health services. Our work is involved with patients and their care and is different from that of a pharmacist. While we can pitch in during an emergency, how can nurses be asked to take stock of medicines? Hopefully, the order will be reversed in coming days,” he says.
Five TNAI members met Health Commissioner Jayanti Ravi on Tuesday. Iqbal Kadiwala, VP of Gujarat Nursing Council, said: “We apprised her of our concerns. We have been told verbally that the notification will be pulled back. The mandate needs to be quashed to prevent protests from nurses who are already overburdened and face issues including low wages.”
PV Dave, Additional Director of Public Health at Health Commissionerate, told Mirror, “It was a temporary arrangement made to aid data entry into software E-Aushadi, as pharmacists also had to counsel patients. We are reviewing it.” E-Aushadi is a web-based supply chain management application that deals with purchase, inventory management and distribution of drugs, sutures and surgical items to hospitals and health centres.