Nurses’ threat to bring Indian trainers irks Sri Lanka docs

Labour room tussle

GMOA committee member Dr. Navin de Soyza addressing the media.Pic by Jude Denzil Pathiraja

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday accused the Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) of having conspired with Indian doctors in advance to train Sri Lankan nurses in midwifery.

The PSUNU has said that it will have to bring Indian doctors to train Sri Lanka nurses in midwifery.

The proposed programme was not practical at all though the nurses’ union had said that it had funds to pay Indian doctors, GMOA committee member Dr. Navin de Soyza told the media at the Association head office.

Dr. Soyza pointed out that the PSUNU had been instigating the nurses to work in the labour rooms in violation of Section 54 of the Sri Lanka Medical Ordinance. That section stipulated that there could not be ‘nurse midwife’. It was only the midwife who was permitted to assist pregnant mothers at deliveries. When the country was undergoing international threats due to the Geneva Human Rights resolution, the PSUNU was trying to fish in troubled waters by resorting to trade union action, the GMOA member said.

The College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had never consented to train nurses in midwifery, Dr. de Soyza said.

It would also exacerbate the shortage of nurses and it would create a conflict between the nurses and the midwives, he said.

GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that the GMOA had held a meeting with the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (COG) yesterday and brought the issue to them. The COG had unanimously decided against training nurses in midwifery. According to the President of the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the nurses were not supposed to assist mothers in deliveries. However, the trainee nurses would be given only six months training at the Kalutara National Institute of Health Sciences. That programme would continue as usual.

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