Now, docs and nurses lock horns over midwife duties

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday threatened to withdraw all obstetricians and doctors responsible for labour rooms from their duties if the nurses took over duties there.

GMOA committee member Dr. Navin de Soyza said midwifery and nursing were two different fields. Midwifery was an internationally accepted profession responsible for attending to deliveries in labour rooms. But, of late many nursing unions had persuaded nurses to work in labour rooms. It was totally unethical and unacceptable, Dr. Soysa said. Section 54 of the Medical Ordinance had clearly mentioned that the labour room duties were to be carried out only by midwives, he stressed.

Public Services United Nurses Union (PSUNU) Vice President D. Boralessa, contacted for comment, said that the GMOA had no right to interfere with the affairs of the nurses. Whenever nurses sought to do something good for them, the GMOA tried to sabotage it, he said.

He warned that if the GMOA continued to block the legitimate rights of the nurses, the PSUNU would not hesitate to take trade union action with 28,000 nurses. There were around 30,000 nurses and 28,000 nurses belonged to the PSUNU.

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