Allied Health Sciences Faculty crisis
Union to increase awareness among students

The All Ceylon Nurses Union (ACNU) commenced a series of seminars to educate nursing staff of 20 hospitals on the situation in the Allied Health Sciences faculty, Peradeniya, where students have been unable to continue their clinical training from the beginning of the month. While 135 nursing students of the Faculty are to have their training at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital, the students of physiotherapy and Radiology are to be trained at the MLT School in Peradeniya and the Maharagama Cancer Institute respectively.

Chairman of the ACHSU, S. B. Medawatte said the seminar for nurses had been conducted yesterday (24) at the Kandy General Hospital. Today (25) the Seminar will be held at the Galle, Karapitiya Teaching Hospital. The Seminars at Peradeniya, Kurunegala, Ragama and Anuradhapura will be held on July 26, 28, 29 and August 2 respectively, he said.

He accused the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) of holding a narrow minded view with regard to training nurses and paramedics. "They have created the dilemma for our undergraduates," he said.

The bottom line is that 452 students of AHS’s Faculty are being penalized on account of the GMOA. The ACNU Chairman said that at the end of the seminars held for nurses the next course of trade union action would be decided. "We have made representations to the Health Ministry and the University Grants Commission to no avail. We have decided on stronger trade union action should the situation persist," he warned.

Mentioning the second point of discussion, he said the Appeal Court had suspended the transfer of the 54 nurses from the Maharagama Cancer Hospital to the IDH, Angoda and the Eye Hospital till July 30. The nurses had been asked to report for duty at the MCI. But 14 of them were prevented from signing on duty by the Institute’s administration. The administration informed them that they were considered to have vacated their posts, he said. The Health Ministry was also ordered to give reasons for the transfers, Medawatte said.

"But whatever said and done our demands for safety equipment, a Rs. 10,000 risk allowance and Foreign Training still stands," he said.

Meanwhile President of the Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA), Saman Ratnapriya said at least five Citotoxic machines and 200 more nursing staff should be given to the Institute. The requirement is five hundred. But at present there are 350 nurses, he said. "We are fighting for what the Ministry has been promising us since 2007, he added.

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