Left For Home During Cov, Nurses Start Returning To City Pvt Hosps, Health News, ET HealthWorld

KOLKATA: Nurses who had quit private hospitals in Kolkata soon after the pandemic set in two years ago have started returning, much to the relief of hospitals. More than 800 nurses had left their jobs and returned to their states — mostly to the Northeast, Odisha, Kerala and Jharkhand — severely affecting patient services. More have left over the last two years. With the Covid scare waning, around 40% have already returned as most hospitals are limping back to the old normal.

Peerless Hospital, which had lost more than 100 nurses — including 60 who had resigned together on the same day — have got back most of them. “While the third wave halted their return for a month-and-a-half, the rejoining process has resumed. We have also started getting fresh recruits from neighbouring states,” said Peerless Hospital CEO Sudipta Mitra. The hospital has a strength of 425 nurses.

AMRI Hospitals, which had lost more than 100 nurses and had to counsel others to stay back, have got back almost half of them. “We have also been making fresh recruits from states like Manipur and Mizoram,” said AMRI CEO Rupak Barua. He added that freshers are also being recruited from Odisha, Kerala and Jharkhand. “We are now back to our original strength of around 950 nurses,” said Barua.

Charnock Hospital had to shut down in April 2020 after several doctors and nurses tested positive, leading to an exodus of nurses. “Around 90% of our strength is now back. I wish our state had more nursing seats so that we do not face these issues again,” said Charnock MD Prashant Sharma.

RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) had lost around 850 nurses since the beginning of the pandemic. “Around 550 have rejoined,” said zonal head R Venkatesh. The hospital has a strength of over 1,000 nurses. “Replacement is an ongoing process and we have always been able to fill up the gaps,” he added.

“I was part of a group that had left in a hurry soon after the pandemic started and a lockdown was announced. We were afraid of getting stuck in Kolkata but now I am happy to be back,” said Nongthombam Bidyarani, a nurse from a neighbouring state.

Forty-seven nurses from Fortis Hospital had left for home during the pandemic, which is around 10% of its nursing strength. “Almost 80% have returned and joined us till now. We do attract significant numbers from Tripura, Jharkhand and Odisha and with an increasing occupancy, we are recruiting from other states as earlier,” said Fortis zonal head Pratyush Srivastava.

At Woodlands Hospital, 15 nurses from Manipur, Odisha and Kerala had left and none has come back, according to managing director Rupali Basu. Medica Superspecialty Hospital saw an exodus of 75 nurses two years ago and was forced to counsel the rest to stay back. “Fortunately, we got back an equal number of nurses three months after the first exodus. Ever since, we have had our full strength of 800 nurses, though not all were required to serve since the pandemic had drastically reduced the number of patients. But now, since we have more than 300 patients, the full strength is on duty,” said chairperson Alok Roy.

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