Docs in North, East strike today

by Don Asoka Wijewardena

Members of the Government Medical Officers’ Association, serving in hospitals in the North and East, will launch a token strike today in protest against the Health Ministry’s delay in finalising their annual transfer list.

Doctors in Trincomalee, Ampara, Batticoloa and Weli-Oya will be participating in the token strike. The GMOA has also made representation to the government to entrust the responsibility of the administration of doctors in the North and East to the Essential Services Commissioner General as the GMOA had no faith in the Health Ministry, the GMOA said.

GMOA General Secretary Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya told The Island that in accordance with the provisions of the post-intern transfer circular, all doctors who had completed one-year in the North and East were eligible for transfer. Although the GMOA had asked the Health Ministry to finalize the transfers, the Ministry had failed to do so.

He pointed out that the parents and family members of the doctors had been urging the GMOA to take some action for the transfer of doctors in the North and East. These doctors were serving in the midst of heavy risks and neither special allowance nor proper accommodation being provided by the health authorities. The services of all central dispensaries, OPDs of hospitals in the North and East would be paralysed today. The GOMA assured that emergency patients would be taken care of.

Health Ministry Additional Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka told The Island that the Health Secretary had given directions to the Director General of Health Services Dr. Ajith Mendis to issue the North and East doctors’ transfer list and would expedite the matter.

Deputy Director General (Medical Services) Dr. Wimal Jayantha said that the appointment letters of doctors contained the condition that post-intern appointment for each doctor was not for one year and the post-interns would be required to serve at least two years in the North and East. The Health Ministry on humanitarian grounds, had formulated a policy of transferring doctors serving in the North and East after one year. This was being practiced as an exception to the rule.

Dr. Jayantha said that the Health Ministry would not be able to issue the North-East transfer list of doctors today because no replacements for those going on transfer doctors had not been found as yet. The next batch of interns would be out on May 15 and the transfer scheme could be implemented after that.




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