The pandemic protocol was thrown to the wind when several hundred people thronged the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) to participate in a walk-in interview on Thursday.
Compelled to call off the programme with the situation getting out of hand, the hospital authorities invited the wrath of Health Minister Veena George who instituted a probe into the fiasco. The selection process for nurses and cleaning staff on contractual basis attracted numerous people from the district and beyond. Many had turned up as early as 6 a.m., well ahead of the interview at 11 a.m.
The authorities failed to streamline the crowd despite a token system being put in place. Soon, the mechanism went kaput forcing the staff to discontinue the distribution of tokens. The move paved way for tension with several job aspirants unrelenting to pleas of the hospital staff to disperse.
The applicants said there was no mention of the number of vacancies in the job notification. Some even claimed that the hospital had conducted a similar selection process for 140 cleaning staff posts last month, but did not appoint any who had applied then.
While the authorities later decided to suspend the process, a large posse of police was rushed to the hospital premises to manage the situation. The job aspirants agreed to leave after the police personnel agreed to their demand to collect their application forms and hand them over to hospital officials.
The Minister made her annoyance known at a meeting to assess the arrangements for COVID-19 treatment at the hospital. Pointing out that the move to conduct an interview during the lockdown was ill-advised, Ms. George instructed Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Rajan Khobragade to submit an inquiry report after identifying lapses in the issue.
At the same meeting, the Minister sought details regarding the availability of essential items, including drugs and gloves. She also directed Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd. to ensure adequate supply of such items.