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PM directs Health Minister to recall retired nurses if required

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi has been directed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to obtain the services of retired nurses on contract basis if required, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

These instructions were directed during a meeting held at Temple Trees today (09).

As there are nearly 340,000 nurses who are currently serving in the field, the meeting took place upon the request of the Head of Public Services United Nurses’ Union and Chief Sanghanayake of Western Province Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda in order to discuss the long-term and short-term solutions for the issues faced by these nurses.

While pointing out the issue of untrained nurses being employed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University Hospital and the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero, who expressed his views on increasing the allowances and facilities provided to nurses.

The Prime Minister issued directives to add the work period of these untrained nurses to their training period as a solution to the issues brought up by the Thero. Additionally, he also instructed the officials to introduce short-term training periods for the nurses serving in ICUs. Further, the Health Minister clarified that this issue is due to the fact that less than 2,000 nurses are recruited for training each year.

Secretary to the Health Ministry, S.H. Munasinghe added that a Cabinet memorandum to extend the tenure of nurses to 63 years has already been submitted for approval.

With regard to the administration of vaccines directed at health sector workers, Munasinghe stated that the process of inoculating the family members of these workers is underway.

Addressing the issue of transport facilities for nurses during the travel restrictions, the Prime Minister also directed officials to set up a proper mechanism to provide transport facilities for the nurses.

He also instructed the process of awarding nursing degrees to be expedited.