One nurses union threatens trade union action demanding midwifery training

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

A section  of nurses yesterday warned that they would resort to trade union action if the health authorities failed to resolve the issue of midwifery training for nurses.

President of the Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA), Saman Ratnapriya claimed that further delay on the part of the Health Ministry to allow nurses to undergo midwifery training would only lead to unnecessary problems.

Ratnapriya said that doctors in the Kandy, De Soysa Maternity Hospital, Castle Street Hospital for Women and Mahamodara had staged protests against the nurses who were being given midwifery training at the hospitals. That was not a problem which concerned doctors but an administrative issue which has been blown out of proportion. 

The situation would only create tension in the health sector which would end up having an impact on patient care.

The GNOA President said that 1,000 nurses were being provided with midwifery training. The training programme commenced on January 17 amidst protests from the midwifery trade unions and doctors. However, the Health Ministry appointed a technical committee to look into the methodology which should be observed when implementing the midwifery training programme for nurses.

Ratnapriya said that the nursing unions had rejected the Technical Committee as it had comprised doctors. They had doubts as to whether it could be objective in its final report.

Meanwhile, spokesman for the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), Dr. Naveen de Soysa explaining the GMOA stand said that it considered the training unnecessary and it was against the Medical Ordinance. The nurses who were affiliated to these hospitals for midwifery training only had a letter from a trade union leader where as it required the letter from the Director General or the Health Secretary.  At present midwifery training was given only to nurses who had four years of experience or those who had topped their batch.

Dr. De Soysa warned that they would not take the responsibility for any complications faced by any patient cared for by these trainees.

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