Hospital services throughout the country crippled due to the 48-hour sick leave campaign launched by all the nursing staff attached to the three main trade unions from yesterday morning over several demands.
Government Nursing Officers Association Chairman Saman Rathnapriya said all the nursing staff of 38,000 participated in the sick leave campaign launched in 1203 Hospitals and in most of the MOH offices throughout the country.
He said, however, essential and emergency services continued without interruption in maternity hospitals, Cancer Hospital, Covid hospitals, and Covid Intermediate Care Centres.
Rathnapriya said nursing staff in Maternity Hospitals, Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, Maharagama Apeksha Hospital and Covid Hospitals and Intermediate Care Centres continued their service voluntarily without formally signing the attendance and in civvies.
He said they launched the trade union action as the health authorities have failed to resolve their issues such as promotions of the nurses, a five-day work-week like other government sectors, required facilities for nursing staff engaged in covid treatment and making nursing schools as university faculties.
“Nurses have to wait for ten years to get their first promotion from Grade III to Grade II whereas the Doctors get it within two years. Nurses have to wait for 20 years to get the second promotion. Doctors get it in nine years. this is not reasonable. authorities have failed to resolve it despite repeated requests. Nurses engaged in Covid treatment have not been provided with KN95 masks. they have to spend about 150 per day to purchase KN95 masks,” he said.
He said 64 nurses have been infected with Covid19 in Kandy National Hospital, seven in Karapitiya and 25 nurses attached to the Kothalawala Defense University Hospital ICU.
Meanwhile, President of the Public Service United Nurses Union, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera said they were compelled to the trade union action by the health authorities and threatened to resort to island-wide trade union action on July 7 if their demands were not met