Delhi hospital nurse who asked staff not to converse in Malayalam apologises

The nursing superintendent, in a letter to the medical superintendent, said the circular was "misinterpreted" and had been issued "in positive sense purely for the comfort of the patients and attendants".

The nursing superintendent at G B Pant Hospital who had issued a circular asking staff not to converse in Malayalam has issuing an apology to the hospital’s medical superintendent. This comes days after the hospital management withdrew the order following public outrage.

The nursing superintendent, in a letter to the medical superintendent, said the circular was “misinterpreted” and had been issued “in positive sense purely for the comfort of the patients and attendants”.

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

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 Malayalam language is being used for communication in working places in GIPMER. Whereas maximum patient and colleagues do not know this language and feel helpless causing a lot of inconvenience. So it is directed to all Nursing Personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication otherwise serious action will be taken.”

A day later, on Sunday, the hospital withdrew the circular and the medical director stated that it had been issued without orders from the hospital administration or the Delhi government.

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