Patients hardest hit as National Eye Hospital workers join strike action (Watch Report)

Patients hardest hit as National Eye Hospital workers join strike action (Watch Report)

Written by Staff Writer

26 May, 2015 | 8:41 pm

The Ministry of Health announced that all substitute and casual health workers who did not report to work on Tuesday, May 26 as part of the countrywide strike action across hospitals will be termed as those who had left their employment.

Issuing a communique, the Ministry stated that immediate disciplinary measures would be taken against these employees and also instructed hospital authorities to not permit any employee who had didn’t report for duty to remain in the hospital.

The strike action was launched today citing ten demands which included the payment of salary anomalies and proving the special allowance of 3000 rupees. The OPDs of the hospitals were the worst affected as a result of this strike action.

News 1st reporter Lakmal Kirindigala stated that the strike action launched by the All Ceylon Health Services Union caused treatment in units at hospitals to be rendered inactive. He added that the National Eye Hospital in Colombo did not have a functioning OPD and the patients who arrived at the at the location had to turn back and head home.

Security forces personnel had been called in to minimise the inconvenience caused to the patients. These were the views expressed by some of patients who arrived at the hospital.

Female patient
We did not know that there was a strike today.The patients have been severely inconvenienced because of this. This is unfair.

Male patient:
It is after I came here that I got to know there was a strike.I will not be able to get the medicines for the next month.

Female patient:
I am sick and I came for a scan. We have been here since 6 a.m.

Female patient:
We request that they do not do such things to the poor and helpless people

Male patient:
We have been here since 7 a.m. I have not eaten or had a drink of water.

Male patient:
It is only after we came here that we got to know that there was a strike action. It is the army personnel who are giving us medicine now.

Female patient:
They should do this in a proper manner because it is the poor people who are being affected by this.

However, the National Hospital in Colombo took measures to operate its Out Patients Department with great difficulty.

The All Ceylon Health Services Union says that over 40,000 health sector employees took part in this strike action today. The strike action will continue tomorrow as well. These employees are attached to 30 different grades of the Health Service.

President of the All Ceylon Health Services Union, Samantha Koralearachchi stated that this strike was commenced in order to benefit the public as well as the patients. He said: This strike will be carried out in a successful manner till 6.30 a.m. on May 28.

Yesterday the Minister of Health announced that subsequent to discussions with the Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake and trade union representatives, it was agreed to provide an allowance of Rs.1000.

Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratna stated that the previous government promised to provide a Rs,15,000 rupee salary increment to the Government Medical Officers Association prior to the election but that figure was dropped to Rs.10,000.

He went on to note that they invited trade unions including those from the nursing section for discussion therefore a Rs.3000 allowance was discussed. Twenty two (22) Trade Unions that are affected by this issue have issued a statement requesting not to heed  to strict measures because they are holding discussion with the government.

Joint Trade Union Committee convenor T.M. Somaratne stated that when a doctor was given an increase of R.10,000;the professions supplementary to medicine were only given Rs.3000 . He said, when you look at it, it is with the greatest difficulty that the Rs.1000 rupees were obtained.

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