AHS issue: Nurses, PSM fault govt. for overlooking them


By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Nurses and Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) yesterday warned that they would continue with their agitations for a fair solution to the Allied Health Sciences Degree issue till the Ministry of Higher Education and the University Grants Commission officially informed them of the decision taken at a discussion on Tuesday (03).

Addressing the media, President of the Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) Saman Ratnapriya said that the nursing and PSM unions had discussed the new development with the AHS students and reached an agreement with them to continue with the trade union action till they were apprised of the outcome of the controversial discussion.

  "While welcoming the positive decision taken at the meeting at Temple Trees, there are a few issues that need to be straightened out such as to whether the subjects and their content had been reduced," he said.

Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake told Parliament recently that at a meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa had with the Ministries of Health, Higher Education, University Grants Commission, Vice Chancellors of Ruhunu and Peradeniya Universities and the Dean of the Peradeniya Allied Health Science Faculty and the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) early this week it had been agreed to offer degrees to AHS students on the basis of obtaining 120 credits.

 Ratnapriya said, however, that the students and unions would not agree to any decision in which subjects such as ‘research,’ would be removed or tampered with. He said the eight credits which the student receives in that subject stood them in good stead when they followed their post graduate studies.

 Ratnapriya said the professional degree which had been initiated in 2005 had comprised a four-year study course. Students who passed out in 2009 had followed the four-year degree. The Health Ministry had absorbed them into government service after a lapse of three years after condition had been laid down that only 25 percent of the graduate nursing and PSM students would be recruited. He accused the Health Ministry of being manipulated by doctors.    

The General Secretary of the Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM), Saman Jayasekara said that the decision to prune the duration of   the AHS degree had been taken when the issue regarding clinical training arose. Jayasekara said it had resulted in a case being filed in the Supreme Court by the Peradeniya University against the UGC and the Higher Education Ministry. The former Chief Justice however gave the ruling that the situation could not be resolved without discussions with the GMOA which was one of the main stakeholders. Jayasekara said that the PSM and nursing unions had been overlooked on both occasions when calling for discussions on the issue. It was reprehensible that only the GMOA had been called to discuss a matter that concerned the future of nursing and PSM.

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