GNOA to file FR petition today

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Nursing Officers’ Association said it would file a fundamental rights petition with the Human Rights Commission against recruiting nurses, for hospitals in the North and East, qualified in the Arts and Commerce streams. GNOA President Saman Ratnapriya said yesterday that this would only serve to deter future development in the profession.

He said it affected the standard of the nursing profession. The FR petition, which is to be filed today (23), would be against the substandardisation of the profession and its effects on the rights of patients and nurses. He said patients would be affected as nurses would be poorly qualified in patient care.

Nurses’ salaries would be affected if recruitment is done from GCE A/level, Arts and Commerce streams as they would be recruited for a lesser pay. Currently, students who have completed their GCE A/levels in the science stream are recruited to the nursing profession – depending on their ‘Z- score.’ They are able to discuss their salaries accordingly. However, if nurses are taken from the Arts and Commerce streams they would be taken for lesser wages according to their qualifications.

The GNOA has staged four picketing campaigns at the Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Kalmunai and Colombo National Hospitals urging the government to withdraw its decision to recruit Arts and Commerce students for nurses training in hospitals of the North and East.

Ratnapriya said they had also discussed the issue with the Health Secretary in August. Discussions ended with no solution.

The GNOA President said they would see what happens following the FR petition and decide on their next move during the next Executive Committee meeting scheduled to be held next month.

Meanwhile, the Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) said that the government had pledged that those nurses would only be employed in the North and East Hospitals. Education in the North and East suffered during the war. Nurses from the South don’t want to serve in the North owing to the lack of accommodation and other resources which complicates the situation faced by hospitals in the Northern Province. There is a dearth of over 500 nurses in the Northern Province at present, a spokesman for the PSUNU said. The Government has no alternative but to recruit from available resources for the North, he added.

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