Healthcare workers at high-risk Covid-19 treatment zones at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) can now go home after duty instead of mandatorily quarantining for seven days in specially allotted accommodation. They will have to report back for duty when required, hospital authorities have said.
Duty hours were also changed with nurses expected to work for longer periods than perviously scheduled.
Dr Jagat Ram, director PGIMER, said the decision was taken after consultations with other institutes following similar rules.
Employees and some nurses are not too happy, saying home quarantining was not feasible as people were living in rented houses.
Accommodation available on case basis
Dr Jagat Ram, however, clarified that the “service of private accommodation will be available to workers on demand and case per case basis as well. We are not denying accommodation for the employees who live in congested areas and have high-risk people back at home. Still, we have advised that those who will choose a home facility should follow all the safety norms,” Dr Ram clarified.
The nursing association has shot off a letter to the institute’s administration, it has been learnt.
“Home quarantine is not practicable in the current situation as most of the people are staying in rented houses with their families. The floor plan of most of the residential houses in and around Chandigarh is not in compliance with home quarantine policies. Also, there is a threat to the security of the staff because of social stigma and there is a chance to get isolated by the society and face stress to evacuate rented accommodations,” the letter reads.
Change in Covid-19 duties
It was also learnt that PGIMER staffers on Covid-19 duty were expected to work longer hours and for more days. Nurses will work for 10 days at a stretch in Covid-19 zones with duties rotating between three shifts: Morning, evening and night.
Earlier only seven days of Covid-19 duty was allowed.
Those completing duty can take five days off, which will be deducted from their monthly quota of nine days off. After 15 days (including workdays and five-day leave) nurses will be posted in non Covid-19 areas for a period of 15 days, including four days of leave.
So, all in all, they will be working for 21 days with nine days off, similar to their previous working schedule.
Doctors will be given just two days of leave after seven days of Covid-19 duty, which means they have to report back at work on the 10th day.
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