Nurses hold midwives incommunicado at Peradeniya Teaching Hospital

Nightingales threaten six hour walkout

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) yesterday warned that they would stage a six-hour walkout today (13) at the Ragama Teaching hospital if the Health Ministry did not issue instructions to midwives to sign  on the registry maintained by matrons. 

GNOA President, Saman Ratnapriya said that midwives of the Ragama and Peradeniya Teaching Hospitals had also commenced signing in separate books.

Nurses at the Ragama Teaching Hospital staged a walkout on Wednesday (11), urging the Ministry to take necessary action against the midwives. Hospital authorities stated that under such circumstances it would have to be considered that the midwives had not reported for work. However, the midwives at the hospitals had stepped in to carry out labour room duties, he said.

 Ratnapriya said that similar circumstances had arisen at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital, where the authorities decided that midwives should sign in a register kept with the Medical Officer of the OPD. He said that the Ragama Teaching Hospital authorities, too, had stated that they had received similar instructions from the Health Ministry when the situation cropped up.  

The GNOA President said, however, that it was against the present Health Ministry regulations. If the Ministry was changing its policies then it should issue proper notification, he added.  

 Meanwhile, The Government Midwifery Services Association (GMSA) said that 19 midwives who had reported for labour room duty at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital had been held inside by several members of the nursing staff. It said that there had been a protest outside the labour room demanding the immediate release of the midwives.

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