Patients in greater pain as nurses’ strike paralyses hospital services

Patients in greater pain as nurses’ strike paralyses hospital services

Written by Bella Dalima

03 May, 2014 | 10:48 pm

Services at public hospitals across the country were affected on Saturday by a strike action commenced by nursing staff. Our reporters across the country say that patients who came to the hospitals to receive treatment were severely inconvenienced as a result.

The strike action continued on Saturday May 3, after discussions held on Saturday with the Minister of Health and midwives ended without a solution for the long-standing conflict between nurses and midwives over labour room training being given to nurses. The conflict arose when nurses entered hospitals for labour room training, after they were given a satisfactory resolution to their demand for labour room training.

Midwives and doctors did not respond positively to the decision to provide labour room training to nurses.The strike action that is now in effect countrywide based on this issue, has the support of both the Government Nursing Officers Association and the Public Service United Nurses Union.

Nurses Unions say that the De Zoysa Hospital in Colombo, the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital, the Castle Street Hospital and the Maharagama Cancer Hospital have been exempted from this strike action.

Numerous patients have been arriving at the Out Patients Department of the Colombo National Hospital, since before 9 a.m Saturday. Our cameras also captured footage of closed rooms with padlocked doors that are usually left open. Hospital Director Dr. Anil Jasinghe visited the wards and inspected operations.

Doctors at the Accident Ward continued to examine patients while minor staff at the hospital also assisted in the process. Even hospital security assisted in providing treatment to the patients.

The strike action also affected the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital with patients at the Renal Unit being transferred to the Kandy and Anuradhapura hospitals.

Meanwhile, patients in certain wards of the hospital who had received treatment for their ailments were discharged by the doctors today.

Our reporter said that the doctors, midwives and minor staff carried out the functions of the hospital. However, he added that the usual hustle and bustle could not be witnessed at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital on Saturday.

Nursing staff at the Kandy General Hospital are only carrying out essential services as a result of the strike action.Other services were being carried out by doctors and minor staff.

Hospital authorities say that the functions of the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital in Galle, the largest of its kind in the Southern Province, were severely affected by the strike.

They say that although ,idwives have reported to work at other hospitals, they have not done so at the Karapitiya Teaching hospital, making the situation much more grievous.

Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital nurses strike was also in effect. Nurses only carried out services in the Emergency Unit. The functions of the Polonnaruwa General Hospital were severely affected by the strike action with close to 400 nurses attached to the hospital participating in the strike.

Here too, doctors carried out services with the assistance of minor staff.

The Director of the Matara General Hospital said that the nurses had informed her in writing that they are prepared to report to work at any moment if they are called upon to do so.

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