Kandy General Hospital docs resume strike

* Demand action against defiant nurses

By Dilanthi Jayamanne and Cyril Wimalasurendra

All doctors at the Kandy General Hospital have launched a strike, demanding disciplinary action against nurses defying orders.

President of the KGH Branch Union and Vice President of the Government Medical Officers’ Association Dr. Saman Karunatilake said yesterday, following discussions with the Health Minister and Health Secretary, that they would call off their trade union action today (16) if the Ministry gave them a written assurance that action would be taken against the nurses and theatre sisters responsible for harassing anesthetists.

Dr. Karunatilake warned that the strike would spread to the rest of the hospitals in the Central province if the Ministry failed to act.

The KGH doctors would carry out only

the emergencies and ICU services till then, he said, adding that the Health Ministry had merely provided patchwork solutions to the issue.

Anesthetists on night duty had been obstructed on three occasions, he said. A security officer and three nurses had been transferred while the theatre sisters and nurses concerned had gone unpunished, Dr. Karunatilake said.

The GMOA branch resorted to trade union action on July 24 because it had taken time for the Hospital authorities and the Health Ministry to intervene. The Health Ministry subsequently carried out investigations for one week but the GMOA branch had not seen what the report contained, Dr. Karunatilake said, adding that the KGH was the second largest hospital in the country with 30 surgeons and 20 theatres. All routine operations, OPD services and clinics had come to a halt, Dr. Karunatilake added.

Meanwhile, the Chief of the Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU), Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda Thera, defending nurses, said that it was the duty of nurses to protect hospital equipment and the interest of patients.

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