Nurses at NHSL and Eye hospital resort to sick-note campaign

by Dilanthi Jayamanne

A one-day sick note campaign was conducted by the nurses attached to the National and Eye Hospitals yesterday in support of the strike action launched by the nursing staff of Sri Jayawardene. Hospital Administrators said yesterday only about fifty percent of of the nurses on the morning shift had been present. Emergency services, the Accident Service, Neurology and Orthopaedic Units were not affected by the protest. However, they said the situation had improved by evening with more than half the nursing staff covering the evening shift reporting to duty.

Efforts to contact the Director of the National Eye Hospital were in vain.

Chief of the Public Service United Nurses Union, Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda Thera said the sick note campaign was also in protest against the failure on the part of the government to solve many problems affecting the nurses. There were issues regarding nurses ‘staff category,’ overtime allowances, and delay in grade promotions.

Ven. Ananda said the All Ceylon Nursing Services Union was also supporting the strike at SJGH, NHSL and Eye Hospital.

Chief of the All Ceylon Health Services Union, Gamini Kumarasinghe could not be contacted for comment yesterday evening. However, earlier in the day he said that there were talks between the two unions to join forces.

Meanwhile, Medical Director of the SJGH, Dr Susith Senaratne said the hospital was incurring a loss of over Rs 200,000 a day owing to the nurses’ strike. The administration would have to take a decision within the next two days and report the situation to the Court as the nursing staff was defying an interim order.

He alleged that the nursing trade union leaders at the hospital had gone into hiding. However they were responsible for the continuous strike, he said.

The SJGH Nurses have struck work demanding the abolition of the biometric attendance marking system.

Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers Association said their General Committee would discuss next Monday whether to support the SJGH nurses’ strike.

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