GB Pant hospital apologises to nurses over ‘no Malayalam’ circular

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The nursing superintendent of GB Pant Hospital Delhi has apologised for issuing a controversial circular that barred nursing staff from speaking in Malayalam on duty.

However, the hospital had withdrawn the circular, which asked the nursing staff to converse only in Hindi and English, on Sunday last, saying it was issued “without any knowledge of the hospital administration or the Delhi government.”

The nursing superintendent who had issued the circular asking staff not to converse in Malayalam issued an apology to the hospital’s medical superintendent. In a letter to the medical superintendent, the nursing superintendent said the circular was “misinterpreted” and had been issued “in a positive sense purely for the comfort of the patients and attendants”.

Further, she said, “… even then if any staff’s feelings get hurt by using the word Malayalam in said circular. I regret the same and assure you I will be more careful and vigilant in future”.

Verbal complaint

However, the nursing superintendent claimed she had received a complaint that staff members were communicating in their regional languages leading to patients feeling “helpless”, and that the complainant had requested that Hindi and English be used instead.

She said patients and attendants had made verbal complaints in the past as well about staff members speaking in regional languages in front of them. “…patients were afraid as they assume that serious health issues are with them that’s why languages are changed to hide their conditions. Hence, the circular was issued to avoid any confusion due to language barrier,” her letter stated.

The controversial circular, issued last Saturday, had stated, “A complaint has been received regarding the Malayalam language is being used for communication in working places in GB Pant hospital, where maximum patient and colleagues do not know this language and feel helpless causing a lot of inconveniences.

“So it is directed to all Nursing Personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication otherwise serious action will be taken.”

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