Retired nurses to augment COVID fight | Daily News

Retired nurses to augment COVID fight

1,000 Nurses for ICU training:
Nursing Degree to be offered:
Nurses’ service period extended to 63 years:

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday advised Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi to recruit retired nursing staff as required, on contract basis for service once again to face the challenges posed by hospitals under the COVID 19 global pandemic.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa also instructed to grant short term training courses to more nurses to engage in the services in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs). The Prime Minister also pointed out that 1,000 nurses are to be trained to work in ICUs apart from the 840 nurses who have already undergone short term training courses.

The Prime Minister gave these instructions at Temple Trees yesterday during a discussion held on a request made by President of the Public Services United Nurses Union (PSUNU) and Chief Sanghanayake of the Western Province Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera to discuss problems faced by the nurses.

The Premier was responding to the Ven. Thera, who pointed out that the ICUs at the Kotalawela Defense University Hospital and at the Neville Fernando Hospital were deploying untrained nurses.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi noted that this situation has arisen since only around 2,000 nurses are being recruited for training annually.

The Prime Minister advised the Health Minister to add the periods these untrained nurses have worked for at present in the ICUs to their training periods. The Premier also pointed out that the government had instructed to extend the service period of nurses to 63 years and Health Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. S. H. Munasinghe revealed that the Cabinet Paper to extend the service period had already been sent to the Cabinet for approval. This decision will be implemented following Cabinet approval.

Premier Rajapaksa said the Government is taking measures to grant a Degree in Nursing, as done in many other countries. The Health Ministry Secretary added that this proposal has already been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for Drafting a Bill. The premier further instructed them to take measures needed to expedite presenting the relevant Bill to Parliament.

The PM also said that increasing the Uniform Allowances of the nurses will be considered through the next Budget. Ven. Ananda Thera reminded the gathering that the said allowance had not been increased since it was increased during the time when the Prime Minister held the post of President from 2010-2015.

The Ven. Thera expressed his views to the Premier on increasing the allowances and facilities provided for nursing staff.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa, who mentioned that all staff engaged in the health sector are rendering an excellent service in the face of the Corona pandemic, asked the Health Ministry Secretary about vaccinating them to which the latter said that by now almost all staff in the field of health have been given COVID vaccines and that in the meantime vaccinating their family members with the second dose of the vaccine has already commenced.

The Prime Minister also instructed officials to set up a proper procedure of planning transport facilities for nurses during the period when travel restrictions are in operation.

He also advised the Health Minister to take required steps to expedite the task of granting the Nursing Degree.

Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance S. R. Attygalle, Chief of the Prime Minister’s Staff Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Health Consultant Dr. Maj. Gen. S. H. Munasinghe, Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Secretary of the PSUNU H. A. D. Kalyani, Vice-President R. K. Batuwita, Deputy Secretary Pushpa Ramyani De Soyza and the Principal of the Kandana Nursing College W. A. Keerthi participated at this meeting.

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