Nurses reject SRC’s proposed stipends for interns

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 22 Mar, 2024 14:59 | 3 mins read
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako. PHOTO/@KNUNOFFICIAL/X

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) has rejected stipends for medical interns proposed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

In a letter to SRC dated March 21, 2024, KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako said the proposals were ill-advised.

"Kindly note that your proposal and the commissions' advice contravene the Nursing Scheme of Service as Nurse Interns are placed under job Group K who form a common establishment as degree holders. Further, note that the Nursing Internship Program is anchored under the Scheme of Service which then helps in the interpretation of the Internship Policy as described for nurses," Panyako stated.

Panyako has demanded that the proposed stipend scheme be withdrawn within seven days, or prompt the nurses to take action.

"We therefore put you on notice that implementation of such uninformed advice will amount to injustice to our profession and the same should be put on hold pending further stakeholders' consultation.
The purpose of this letter therefore is to demand withdrawal of the impugned SRC advice within seven days failure to which our members will be forced to resist any alteration to the benefits attached to the internship program through all means not limited to legal redress," Panyako added.

According to the proposals seen by K24 Digital, medical interns including doctors would earn a monthly stipend of between Ksh27,000 and Ksh70,000.

The rejection of the proposals by nurses comes days after the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) rejected them terming them as exploitative.

“If you check an intern’s log book, you will be amazed by the amount of work they handle, they do everything. When Susan says interns earn a lot and request a review of intern’s salary without involving us or the commission marks hypocrisy and malice,” KMPDU Deputy Secretary General Dennis Miskellah said.

Placement of intern nurses

In another letter to the Principal Secretary for Public Health and Professional Standards Mary Muriuki, Panyako claimed that the government had stopped posting nursing interns since last year.

"The Union pushed for an internship policy which was approved by the Public Service Commission where Bachelor of Science Nursing interns were supposed to be placed on a one-year internship program by the Ministry. The Union negotiated with the Ministry of Health to provide a budget for 500 BScN interns which was increased later to 2000 to allow them to undertake an internship program on full sponsorship under JG-K by then," Panyako explained.

"This process has been going on smoothly for years until last year when the Union realized that the BScN Nurses who are due for internship have not been placed for unknown reasons. It's against the principle of internship which promotes professionalism in Nursing that the interns are provided with and acquire practical experience in professional and career development. The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request your able office to provide us with updated information on the status of internship postings for purposes of information to the concerned officers."

Currently, doctors are on strike calling for adequate funding of the health sector with a budgetary commitment to fund all signed CBAs beginning with increasing allocation to the counties to the tune of Ksh425 billion.

They are also unhappy with the failure by the Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital to sign a CBA, harmonization of salary for doctors on short-term contractual terms, described as discriminatory; and conversion to permanent and pensionable terms, promotions of the consultants and provision for study leaves.

“Failure by medical training universities to sign of recognition agreement and deduction and remittance of Union dues; failure to harmonize clinical allowance and provision of medical cover, we shall not relent,” the doctors say in their CBA.

The Ministry of Health is expected to hold another meeting at the end of this week, to try and persuade the doctors.

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