Private hospitals and nursing homes today opposed in the Delhi High Court an AAP government order directing them to comply with an expert panel's recommendation to pay minimum wage of Rs 20,000 to nurses, saying it would "render their business unviable".
The petition, by an association representing health care providers in the country, came up for hearing before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar which had recently said that healthcare "has become lucrative business".
The court had made the observation while hearing a PIL alleging that nurses were being financially exploited in private hospitals and nursing homes in the national capital.
Today, the court could not take up the association's plea due to paucity of time and listed it for hearing on August 10.
The association has contended that the June 25 order by the Delhi government's Directorate General of Health Services, under the garb of seeking compliance with the expert committee's recommendations, was in effect revising the minimum wages of the nurses employed in private hospitals and nursing homes.
The petition has said that the Delhi government neither heard the private health care providers before taking the decision nor did it appreciate that their "business will be rendered unviable" if the wages of the nurses were increased according to the committee's recommendations.
"The impugned order (of June 25), therefore, has the effect of rendering the business of the petitioner unviable insofar as it will have the repercussion of inflating the wage bill for nurses by at least two to three times," it said and added that it would also result in other clinical staff demanding a similar hike in pay.
The association has also claimed that the apex court while directing setting up of the expert committee to look into the salary and working conditions of nurses had said that the panel's recommendations be adopted "only by way of a legislation".
Hearing a separate PIL by the Indian Professional Nurses Association (IPNA) seeking implementation of the expert panel's recommendations earlier, the court had asked a group representing the the private hospitals and nursing homes in Delhi why they were opposed to paying the minimum wage of Rs 20,000.
The panel had also recommended that working conditions such as leave, working hours, medical facilities, transportation and accommodation of the nurses should be on par with those working in government hospitals.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)