Service Minute row: Nurses threaten walk out

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Nurses of government hospitals will withdraw from their services for three hours today (25) in protest against the government’s decision to amend the Nurses’ Service Minute without the consent of the nursing unions.

President of the Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) Saman Rathnapriya said they would walk out at 8.00am and the main Satyagraha would be held opposite the Bandaranaike Building of the National Hospital.

The draft of the amendments to 1984 Service Minute of Nurses prepared by the Health Ministry would be presented for the approval of the Cabinet without GNOA proposals in it and there were some points included to satisfy the needs of Government Medical Officers’ Association, Rathnapriya said.

He said that there was no mention of the nursing graduates. Ministry officials had agreed to expand nurses’ training period up to three and a half years but it had reduced to three and four months according to the draft amendments.

Rathnapriya said that about five per cent of those recruited for the nursing service were males and it had been agreed to increase their number to 20%. Yet that had not been included in the draft.

"Almost all our proposals have been discarded," Rathnapriya said adding this protest would continue until demands were met.

Health Ministry spokesman W. M. D. Wanninayake said the ministry had taken necessary steps to ensure patients care during the nurses’ protest. "Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has ensured that no party would suffer by the new draft," Wanninayake said.

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