Despite demands for the repeal of the 13th Amendment, the Health Ministry has authorised provincial councils to recruit 75 per cent of the nursing cadre to hospitals coming under their purview, trade unions said yesterday.
Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) President Saman Ratnapriya told Daily Mirror the gazette notification in this regard had been issued on September 5 but he said his union was opposed to this ministerial decision.
“When such power is given to the provincial councils, it will lead to the politicisation of the recruitment of nurses. The different provincial councils will adopt different criteria for recruitment. Then, we will not be able to raise the standards of this vital profession. The provincial councils may even recruit those with fewer qualifications to the profession,” he said.
Mr. Ratnapriya said his union had two rounds of talks with Minister Maithripala Sirisena and he agreed to repeal these two clauses in the gazette notification.
“According to the original notification, a nurse should work at the hospital of his or her first appointment for 10 years at a stretch. It was later reduced to five years after talks. Besides, private practice has been banned for nurses under another clause. It was also withdrawn after talks. However, we insist that the gazette notification be fully withdrawn,” he said.
However, Health Ministry Secretary Nihal Jayatilake said the Ministry had taken no such decision.
“There is a misinterpretation of facts in the gazette notification. The recruitment is always done by the Line Ministry. However, we have decided to make such recruitments at provincial and district levels. For the purpose, we will get assistance from the provincial authorities. That is all,” Dr. Jayatilake said.
“We will appoint ministry representatives to every provincial level interview board. This is not transferring of power to the provincial councils,” he said.
Mr. Ratnapriya however rubbished the remarks made by Dr. Jayatilake and said our protests had made them come up with various interpretations.
“This is to avoid being pressured by us,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)