GNOA says won’t be intimated by Health Ministry threats

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Nursing Officers’ Association says it will not be intimidated by the Health Ministry’s attempt to prevent yesterday’s sick note campaign by issuing a circular cancelling their leave.

GNOA President Saman Ratnapriya said yesterday (10) that they would lodge a complaint with the International Labour Organisation next Wednesday (17) against the Ministry for violating their trade union right to protest.

The Nurses of the GNOA resorted to a 24-hour sick note campaign from 7.00 a.m. yesterday. The strike was carried out at the National Hospital, at the Kalubowila, Karapitiya and Kandy Teaching Hospitals, the Batticaloa Base hospital, the Hambantota and Matara General Hospitals and several other hospitals in the country.

He said the trade union action had affected several theatres at the National Hospital, some of the wards, the X-ray unit and even the Hospital OPD.

He said the nurses service minute was also required several amendments before it is approved by Cabinet. However, the Health Minister had not incorporated the amendments suggested by The GNOA into the minute. There should be a proper recruitment scheme mentioned in the Service Minute for graduate nurses, there should also be a mechanism to recruit nurses on their ‘Z,’ scores at the nursing exams. But none of these amendments were included, Ratnapriya said.

Ratnapriya challenged Ven. Murutettuwe Ananda, Chief of the Public Service Nurses Union for a debate on the latter’s claim that the Ministry had taken steps to meet nurses’ demands.

Meanwhile the National Hospital said it had not been affected by the GNOA strike as only a small number of nurses had been on sick leave. Director NHSL, Dr. Hector Weerasinghe said the number of strikers was negligible. The OPD, Accident Service, operating theatres, and all other services were functioning as usual, he said.

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