New Delhi, May 27 (PTI) Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry and most important link between doctors and patients, Minister of State (MoS) for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said on Friday.

The role played by the nursing community during the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic was simply remarkable, Pawar said, addressing the lamp lighting ceremony for the 66th batch of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital's School of Nursing.

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The lamp lighting ceremony formally recognises a student's entry into the nursing profession, a health ministry statement said.

At the outset, Pawar thanked the hospital administration and staff for their wonderful work not just during the COVID-19 pandemic but otherwise too.

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"It is a matter of pride that Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the centenary year of its establishment, and in Delhi, for the last seven decades, has been making a great contribution to the service of the health of the common man," she said, as per the statement.

The MoS praised Sir Ganga Ram Hospital's "cross subsidy" model, which is an excellent follow-up example in the field of medicine, making health services accessible to all and can be replicated by other hospitals, it said.

The hospital provides free and highly subsidised treatment to 2.5 lakh poor patients, including medicines in OPD and free IPD treatment to about 7,000 poor patients, the statement said.

Signifying the crucial role played by the nursing fraternity, Pawar said, "Nursing is an art, science and spirit that combines all aspects harmoniously. An educated nurse must also possess spiritual qualities in order to serve humanity by giving the patient remedial care and to meet their medical needs."

"Nurses are the foundation of hospitals and the most important link between a doctor and the patient. Nurses are the heroes who meet the needs of their patients, whether it is day or night," she said.

The MoS further said a strong nursing sector is an essential requirement for a strong healthcare sector. By investing in nursing, better health services can be provided, she added.

This will lead to disease prevention which will help in achieving the objectives of universal health coverage, Pawar said.

She also emphasized that there are significant changes happening in the role of nurses which would also improve their contribution internationally and that India's nurses have always earned tremendous goodwill in all parts of the world, the statement said.

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