Waking up to the problem of shortage of nurses in the four hospitals attached to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI), the State government has renewed the contracts of the 409 stipendiary nurses for a period of six months.

For the record, BMCRI’s Governing Council had on February 16 decided against permitting the 409 stipendiary nurses to resume work in its four hospitals. Demanding regularisation of services, the nurses had gone on a 22-day strike from January 9. They had withdrawn the strike on January 30 following an assurance from BMCRI they would be allowed to resume work if they withdrew unconditionally. However, the Governing Council did not permit them to rejoin, prompting the nurses to go to the Labour Department. Following this, patient services in the four hospitals — Bowring and Lady Curzon, Victoria, Minto and Vani Vilas — were affected. Shortage of nurses forced doctors in these hospitals to close down operation theatres in certain departments.

Speaking to The Hindu, Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil said the stipendiary nurses’ contract had been renewed. “However the recruitment of 600 nurses is in process. Some of these 409 nurses have applied for the posts of staff nurses and are eligible to be recruited.”

When asked if they would be given preference over others, he said: “We can consider this as an incentive during their interview process.”

However, the Minister made it clear that those who had not applied were not eligible for recruitment.