brand logo

Covid-19 ICU facilities: Untrained nurses assigned to ICUs? 

2 years ago

Share on

  • Nurses’ Union alleges a total of 24 transfers 

  • Nurses at Nat. Eye/Dental Hospitals sent to KDU 

  • Forced, non-consensual transfers: ACNU alleges 

  • Health Ministry denies allegation 

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa   Allegations have been levelled against the Health Ministry regarding the transfer of untrained nurses to intensive care units (ICUs) so as to meet the increasing demand in hospitals allocated for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.  All-Ceylon Nurses Union (ACNU) General Secretary S.B. Mediwatte told The Sunday Morning that the alleged transferring of untrained nurses to provide treatment in ICUs has placed the lives of those who are receiving treatment at those units at risk.  According to him, nine such nurses have been transferred to the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) Hospital on Thursday (17) from the National Eye Hospital and the National Dental Teaching Hospital.  In addition to the aforementioned nine nurses, another 15 such untrained nurses have been transferred from other hospitals around the country to meet the shortage, he claimed.  “The nurses have given letters in writing that they cannot take responsibility for the lives of those who are being treated at ICUs, as they have not received the required training and as they are unaware of the procedures followed in such units,” Mediwatte said, alleging that the transfers have therefore been given without the consent of those nurses.  As per Mediwatte, the Health Ministry should have first implemented a mechanism to find the nurses who have already obtained the necessary training and are now being transferred to different sections, and to then obtain the services of those who are retired.  “Without even trying any other method, they are just sending nurses. We are not sure whether those nurses are able to read the monitors and give the necessary treatments. When we raised this issue, the Ministry said that the nurses would be under a qualified nurse, but the reality is that one nurse cannot train nurses, especially during a pandemic. Therefore, this is not a practical decision,” Mediwatte alleged.  However, when The Sunday Morning questioned Public Health Services Deputy Director General and Health Ministry Communications Director Dr. Hemantha Herath in this regard, he denied the allegation, saying that only trained nurses were being transferred to those units while the newly transferred nurses would only be sent as support staff to those hospitals.   

You may also like