To: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Establish a Dialysis Technicians Council Now
Technicians need professional representation as well as a body to establish professional standards. This body would have the function of representing the sector at the government level, establishing education standards, and also accepting complaints from workers about working conditions. This professional body will elevate the profession and support the recruitment and retention of technicians into the sector. The council would also be responsible for:
1. Sector social dialogue and collective bargaining
Workers need the right to establish rights at the sector level. It is in the best interest of the government, employers and workers to establish sector level standards, that include worker rights.
2. National recruitment strategy for dialysis technicians
Recruitment was a challenge prior to the pandemic, and with the added pressure of the pandemic means that many workers have fallen ill or even left the industry completely. This has caused many workplaces to be understaffed, and put both workers and patients at great risk. Contracting out in the public system must be stopped, dialysis workers need full-time, stable jobs. As the need for dialysis increases, a national strategy needs to be established.
3. Wages and other working conditions at par with the technicians of public health
Compared to other health professions, dialysis technicians are extremely underpaid and undervalued. Dialysis workers should be recognized as an important part of the health care system. This includes improvements to their wages, similar to other workers with similar hours of training and education.
4. Adequate insurance and social security for all technicians
Many technicians reported a lack of access to sick leave, health insurance, and social security benefits. The pandemic has highlighted the need for paid sick leave and recovery for workers. This is not only for workers, but it also keeps workplace transmission levels lower and protects patients.
5. Stronger safety standards at workplaces
Workers in all facilities, big and small, need democratic involvement in their health and safety committees. Dialysis workers have a vested interest in keep workplaces safe for them and for their patients.
Why is this important?
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deficiencies in our care system, and also left many workers and patients a like fearful of getting sick. Establishing national standards will improve the situation by ensuring that the same levels of care are available to all Indians despite where they live.