The United Nurses Association (UNA) has filed an intervention application in the Suo Motu Case taken by Supreme Court for proper treatment of COVID19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in the hospitals, seeking directions to ensure COVID 19 protection Kits are made available to every single health care professional.
The application has been filed by the Association through its Delhi State General Secretary Mr. Joldin Francis who has submitted that the health care workers area the frontline of the COVID-19 outbreak response and as such are exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection. These hazards include “pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burn out, stigma,and physical and psychological violence etc.”
The petitioner Association has further submitted that health and safety of health care workers are of utmost importance because further shortage of health care workers would result in thousands of unattended COVID-19 patients, which will have serious repercussions including escalation of the present situation and result an impact on the economy, medical facilities, potential deaths and loss of human resource.
The Association has sought the following directions from the court for the healthcare workers:
- To ensure that COVID 19 protection Kits are made available to every single health care professional working in the COVID 19 wards and also to those working in close proximity of patients suspected to be infected with the virus.
- To ensure that adequate and standard nutritious meals and proper accommodation are provided to the healthcare workers in close proximity to the hospital where they are discharging medical duties.
- To ensure adequate and prompt transport facilities to the health care workers.
- To ensure proper screening of suspected patients before entering the hospitals and other medical facilities and also to ensure speedy testing of suspected cases.
- To ensure that all health care workers are trained on infection prevention and control (IPC),proper use and disposal of Personal Protection Equipment(PPE)
- To ensure that the infrastructure of hospitals and health care centers are temporarily expanded so as to provide separate and hygienic washrooms for staff
- To expand the scope of personal accident cover provided under the‘ Pradhan Mantri Kalyan Package Health Workers Fighting COVID-19’to include all health care workers across sectors, including those recruited on ad-hoc basis
- To provide free testing facility and treatment for the health care workers in case of infection of COVID 19 while they are on duty.
- To ensure the full and timely payment of salaries to the health care workers in the private hospitals.
- To ensure that private hospitals are not charging or deducting salaries from the healthcare workers if they get infected of COVID 19 while on duty.
-India Legal Bureau