HC Deb 04 December 1946 vol 431 cc105-6W
Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for War why the Hargeisa Hospital. Somaliland, has been closed down.

Mr. Bellenger

On 1st October the hospital at Hargeisa was closed to all but the most serious and dangerous cases owing to a strike of thirty-eight dressers and fifteen nurses of the Somali nursing staff. The strike was in sympathy with a dresser who refused to perform necessary ward duties for a patient in great distress, claiming that these tasks were degrading and should be performed by the hospital sweepers or cleaners. Religious leaders were consulted by the authorities and it was, confirmed that such duties were in no way contrary to their religion, rather was it incumbent on them to help their sick and helpless countrymen in every way. The strikers, however, adopted an uncompromising stand and all attempts at reasoning with them failed. The situation was explained to the people in a broadcast address on the following day, 2nd October, and there was a satisfactory response to an appeal for replacements. The hospital reopened almost immediately and all the Somali dressers and nurses now employed have signed statements that they will be entirely responsible for all the needs of the patients in the wards.

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