There is a big demand for paramedics, both locally and internationally. The government plans to train 5,000 laboratory technicians, radiologists, physiotherapists, occupation therapists and pharmacists within this year, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva said during a ceremony to present letters of appointment to 175 para medics in Colombo on Tuesday.
The Minister said that some trade unions had taken unfair advantage of the current shortage of trained healthcare workers to frequently stage strikes and protests making very unfair demands. `We will take stern action against this`, he warned.
While admitting that there was a lack of facilities to train the said number of paramedics, the Minister said that the Health Ministry will seek the support of the private sector.
The Secretary Medical Laboratory Technicians Union Ravi Kumudhesh said that their services were not recognized during the last five decades. However the situation has changed for the better and they would not resort to trade union action.
`Sincere efforts are taken to project our service as a people friendly and we will refrain from adverse trade union action in future`, he further said.
There are opportunities for para medics to move up professionally to secure enhanced qualifications through the BSc Degree programme introduced recently.