Negligence of Health Ministry will cause a strike in the North – GMOA
August 11, 2017 11:48 am
The GMOA has collectively stated that, the Doctors of the Northern and Eastern regions of the country will go on strike, if the Ministry of Health does not resolve the issue pertaining to the appointment of Doctors to peripheral hospitals.
Speaking to the media at a press conference yesterday (10), Assistant Secretary of the GMOA Dr.Haritha Aluthge reported that the Northern and Eastern regions of the country required special attention moving forward. He stated that after the war, the North-Eastern region of the country saw a dramatic increase in infrastructure and medical personnel that benefited the region. He however stated that despite the influx, the demands of patients of those regions could not be met.
Dr.Aluthge further stated that the presence of specialist doctors in the peripheries of the country was unfortunately dismal. It was brought to light that due to the lack of accommodation, transport, technology and facilities several medical professionals prefer to remain either in their home states or in urbanized cities such as Kandy and Colombo where the hospitals are well-equipped. This stigma created a vacuum of skilled professionals in the peripheries of the country.
To combat this dire situation the Ministry of Health along with the GMOA implemented an appointment program to promote medical professionals to take up appointments in peripheries. It is the norm for any Doctor to serve a term of 2-4 years in the region of their initial appointment after the final MBBS examination. The annual new appointments are assigned based on a Merit list that is prepared, ranking the doctors according to the marks obtained at the final examination.
Dr.Athuge stated that habitually, the candidates who are within the top ranks of the merit list chose hospitals in Colombo, Kandy, Galle or their home towns to have easier access to better facilities and comforts. This leaves the bottom seeded applicants no choice but to be stationed in peripheral hospitals. This system distributes lower ranked Doctors to the outskirts of the island.
According to the new system that was imposed, the Ministry of Health introduced a system where any Doctor that takes up an appointment in peripheral hospitals will have to serve for a period of only 1-year before returning to an appointment of their choice. This system prompted several top ranked candidates from the Merit list to choose appointments in the Northern and Eastern hospitals of Sri Lanka equipping the medical centers with skilled young professionals.
Unfortunately however, the negligence of the Health Ministry has left several doctors in those regions in dire straits. Many doctors who were given appointments based on the 1-year promise are still stuck in peripheral regions. The GMOA has informed the Ministry that this delay of reassignment will adversely affect the ability to send skilled professionals to peripheral regions.
The Assistant Secretary also stated that the doctors of the peripheral regions are providing their services in a forlorn manner feeling betrayed and deceived. This mismanagement of doctors disgusts many young professionals leaving them no other alternative but to leave the country. Through this, the nation will lose many erudite minds to foreign systems.
It was further stated that the GMOA had informed the Health Ministry of this issue and requested them to provide them with a solution as soon as possible. However it was reported that their efforts were to no avail. Dr.Athuge also stated that on August 04, the GMOA met with the secretary of the Ministry of Health and that he promised a resolution for the issue within the next few days.
Dr.Athuge then stated if the Ministry does not provide the doctors of the North and East with a solution they will regrettably go on strike. He stated that a severe stand will be taken until demands are met ultimately affecting the lives of patients of those areas. He also mentioned that the GMOA will meet on August 20, where a verdict will be taken on conducting an island wide protest against the incompetence of the Ministry of Health who has absconded several demands of the GMOA.