Service in the North mandatory for Sri Lankan nurses

Jan 24, Colombo: The Health Ministry of Sri Lanka has made it compulsory for the nurses to serve in the war-torn Northern Province as the hospitals in the region are experiencing a shortage of nurses.

According to the Health Ministry, all the nurses, who completed five years of service outside the Northern Province, are required to serve in the Northern Province as part of their service.

The government earlier planned to recruit students who have passed GCE Advanced Level in arts and commerce streams from the Northern and Eastern Provinces as nursing students. But the proposed measure met with strong resistance from the nurses’ unions.

According to the Nurses’ Constitution that came into effect in November 2010, Z scores in biology, math, and agriculture at the A/Levels are to be considered when recruiting nurses.

The unions charged that the move will degrade the nursing service and the students may fail to capture the training.

There is a shortage of nurses in the whole country and the government is planning to recruit 25,000 more nurses to the health sector. Sri Lanka has a workforce of 24,000 nurses island wide but needs a cadre of 48,000, the government says.

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