Leader of Opposition Hon. Matthew Wale calls on the Prime Minister to immediately revoke the suspension of the Solomon Islands Nurses Association (SINA) and to enter into dialogue with the nurses to resolve any outstanding issues surrounding their recent sit-in protest.
Mr. Wale in a statement yesterday said; “The acute shortage of nurses and doctors at the central hospital is already putting our health system under serious constraints and to let the threat of losing nurses drag further will only add fuel to the current worsening state of affairs.”
While there have been attempts on the part of the government to address the claims, this may have been unsatisfactory thus, forcing the nurses to take the action they took, he said.
Mr. Wale goes on to say, “It is therefore important that the government take a level headed approach. We are talking about nurses and front liners here. These are people that this country needs to be on top of their job at this point in time and so, how their concerns are handled is critical.
“It seems the prime minister jumped straight into invoking powers under the Covid-19 Regulations without fully exhausting the dialogue option. While there may have been attempts on the government side, it seems there may have been unsatisfactory thus, leading to the sit-in protest.
“This is truly regrettable and raises serious questions on the Prime Minister’s sense of reasoning and motives. Where is the public interest he is trying to protect?” the Opposition Leader questioned.
The suspension of the nurses association on claims for allowances and any threats to discipline the nurses, borders on being unreasonably justifiable, and being disproportionate to the likely consequences resulting from the continuous absence of nurses from attending to their Covid-19 duties and sick patients at the hospital.
”I, therefore, urge the prime minister to revoke the suspension and take responsibility in establishing meaningful dialogue with the nurses. All our nurses must return to work at the earliest and what should make this happen sooner is what the Prime Minister should be looking at.
“I also urge the nurses to consider exhausting all options for dialogue and to leave industrial action out for now. The law is there to deal with these matters. Use these options if you must, as our people and country depend on your service,” the Opposition Leader further concluded.