Punish Health Ministry bigwig or face a strike, GMOA tells govt.


By Don Asoka Wijewardena     

The Avissawella hospital ICU.

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) General Committee member Dr. Haritha Aluthge yesterday alleged that the Health Ministry’s Additional Secretary and Western Province Health Director Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva acted in a dictatorial manner.

Dr. de Silva’s tenure as additional Secretary had ended in 2013 October 30, but he was still clinging on to that post, the GMOA, Dr. Aluthge told the media yesterday.

Dr. Aluthge pointed out that due to the closure of the Avisawella Base hospital’s ICU many patients had to be transferred to other hospitals. Although Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala had allocated two million rupees for renovating the ICU Dr. de Silva had blocked the funds. He had also scolded the Medical Superintendent of the Avissawella hospital, the GMOA said.

Unless action was taken against Dr. de Silva, the GMOA would launch an indefinite strike commencing March 25. Around 2,000 doctors would be participating in the strike in the Western Province, Dr. Aluthge said.

Dr.  de Silva, contacted for comment, dismissed the allegations leveled by the GMOA as baseless. He said he had recommended that another Rs.3 million be allocated to the Avissawella hospital and had asked the Avissawella Base Hospital MS Dr. Anura Gunathilaka to perform his duties in a professional way. "The Avissawella hospital was donated by Geethajali Gunawardena’s father. I had asked Dr, Gunathilaka to meet the Gunawardena family and ask for assistance. But, he refused to do so. He was appointed to the hospital to cover up duties on a temporary basis."

Asked whether he had removed an ambulance from the Avissawella hospital and given it to the Negombo MOH office, Dr. de Silva answered in the affirmative. "I do not want Dr. Anura Gunathilaka’s permission to acquire an extra vehicle from the hospital. The Negombo MOH was in need of a vehicle for dengue control. The GMOA has leveled many baseless allegations against me. As far as I am concerned I have acted as senior medical administrator to promote the health services of the Western province."

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