The contract nurses of Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital today staged a protest outside the residence of Union health minister Harsh Vardhan. They were protesting against the termination of their services by the hospital authorities.

The agitating nurses alleged that the hospital administration had served them termination notices stating that they will be hiring permanent staff in their place. “The number of permanent staff to be hired is 1278, while there are more than 3000 vacancies in the hospital, which means there are adequate vacancies for us,” said a nurse.

Expressing concern over their uncertain future, the protesting nurses said, “Many of us will not be able to appear for exams for other government jobs as we are now well past the upper age limit.”

A nursing officer of Safdarjung Hospital, Dinesh Mehta, said: “I got an All India rank of 74 and was still hired on a contractual basis. Now, these people are saying that they will terminate us. I am over-age to apply for any other government job now. All these protesting nurses are between 35-40 years of age. We are not in a position to compete with younger people for jobs at this age.”

The nurses said that when they approached the Health Minister with their concern the minister asked them to talk to his assistant, who would fix an appointment with him. The nurses said they will continue with their protest until they are assured they will be re-appointed.

The protesting nurses were joined outside the health minister’s residence by contract nurses from the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, Lady Hardinge Hospital and Kalawati Hospital.