Fill up Vacant Nursing Posts, Bring National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill: Top Health Panel
New Delhi: In an attempt to address the issue of development of the nursing sector in the country, the Parliamentary Committee on Health has recommended filling up vacant nursing posts in the country in order to improve the Nurse patient ratio in general.
The top health panel has further recommended bringing the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill before both the Parliament houses for "regulation and development and enrichment of Nursing and Midwifery service in the country."
The Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, headed by Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav, has submitted its 126th report on Demands for Grants 2021-22 on 08.03.2021.
Taking note of the Central scheme for the Development of Nursing Services in the country, the Committee observed that under this Scheme, funds are released for (i) training of nurses in the field of specialization and in-service training by providing financial assistance for conducting short term training courses in clinical Speciality, Education technology, & Nursing administration; (ii) Infrastructure development by way of strengthening of Schools of Nursing to improve the quality of nursing education; and (iii) National Florence Nightingale Awards to honor exemplary services made by nursing personnel. Funds are released to Schools of Nursing for upgrading to Colleges of Nursing under the sub-component of Upgradation of School of Nursing. Proposals for Upgradation of School of Nursing into College of Nursing received from State Government are considered subject to availability of funds.
The Committee further noted that although the actual revenue expenditure was at the tune of Rs. 39.78 crore during 2019-20, only Rs.15.00 crore was allocated under BE 2019-20. The amount of revenue expenditure was further slashed to Rs. 16.00 crore in BE 2020-21 and again to Rs. 14.68 crore. Amidst the pandemic, the State government also submitted fewer proposals for Upgradation of School of Nursing into College of Nursing.
From the Revenue outlay worth Rs. 17.54 crore in BE 2021-22, Rs. 1.74 crore would be spent for the training of nurses, Rs.1.50 crore for the National Florence Nightingale Award, and Rs.14.30 crore for upgrading the school of Nursing. As per assumptions, almost 100 training courses would be conducted to train 3000 nursing personnel. Funds would be provided to 6 new institutions for up-gradation to the College of Nursing as well.
Looking at the records of the Indian Nursing Council (INC), the Parliamentary Committee understood that there are 3225 schools of nursing and 2066 colleges of nursing in the country. National Nursing & Midwifery Commission Bill, having a core focus on the quality of Nursing education is currently under consideration of the government. Also, INC has introduced Nurse Practitioner courses and various other Bridge courses for nursing personnel's in an effort to continually upgrade the education standard of nursing in the country to the global level.
As per Indian Nursing Council (INC) records, there are around 934583 Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM), 2272208 Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives (RN & RM) and 56842 Lady Health Visitors (LHV) in the country.
The top Health Panel also noted that a Committee of Experts have been constituted under the chairpersonship of Dr. Bimla Kapoor to look into the matter of Nurse Population ratio and skewed distribution of nurses and nursing institutions across the country.
Thus, the Committee recommended the Health Department to "make concerted efforts to upgrade the education standard of nursing in the country to global standard and fill up vacant posts of various cadres of Nursing in various hospitals in the country so as to enhance the Nurse patient ratio in general."
Mentioning that the current nurse-patient ratio of 1.7 nurses per 1000 population point finger towards the shortage of nurses in the country, the Parliamentary Panel further recommended, "that the issue of skewed distribution of nurses between rural and urban area needs to be addressed, suitably as per the recommendation of the Committee of Experts constituted under the chairpersonship of Dr. Bimla Kapoor."
Finally, addressing the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill, having core focus on the quality of Nursing Education, the Parliamentary Committee opined that "the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill for regulation and development and enrichment of Nursing and Midwifery service in the country should be brought both the Parliament."