Docs and nurses threaten TU action over labour room tussle 

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday warned that they would not tolerate further disruptions in labour rooms of hospitals and were prepared to stop all elective caesarean section if the nurses continued to interfere.

GMOA Spokesman, Dr. Naveen de Soysa warned that the nurses should await the P. B. Jayasundara Committee report without disrupting the labour room services any further. Although the nurses claimed that midwives should sign in a register kept by matrons, the Establishment Code and circulars stipulated that midwives should sign in a register kept by the head of the institution.

The Jayasundara committee had been appointed to look into the issue when midwives of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital commenced signing in a separate book amidst protests by nurses.

Dr. Soysa said that the labour room issue had gone too far with nurses at the Ragama and Peradeniya Teaching Hospitals and the Castle Street Hospital for Women taking the law into their own hands. Some male nurses at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital had detained midwives serving in the labour room. He said that one of them had been attacked by the nurses and admitted to hospital.

He urged the two warring parties to resort to trade union action without causing upheaval in the labor room.

Meanwhile, President of the Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA), Saman Ratnapriya vehemently denied that nurses had been responsible for detaining midwives at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital. He claimed that it was merely a cooked up story by the Government Midwifery Services Association (GMSA) and the GMOA). "We cannot help it if midwives decides to stage a sit-down protest.

He warned that nurses would have to resort to further trade union action if the Health Ministry did not take measures to order the midwives to abide by the rules and sign in the correct register. "If they cannot do so they should g home, he said.

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