PSC says health sector trade union campaign based on unfounded allegations



The Public Service Commission (PSC) last week assured the public including all public officers that the Commission will take every possible action to maintain discipline in the public service.


Any attempt to interfere with and influence decisions and functions of the Commissions will be dealt with according to the law, the PSC said in a press communiqué.


The PSC has observed that a Trade Union in the health sector has been carrying a campaign with baseless allegations against the PSC with a threat of launching a strike alleging that the PSC delayed approving the Service Minute of the Sri Lanka Medical Service and sought to amend the Service Minute to include medical graduates from private universities in Sri Lanka, the communiqué signed by its secretary, Mrs. T. M. L. C. Senaratne said.


In this environment, the PSC decided to bring to the notice of the public the following true facts with responsibility, and make them aware of the reality:


= In view of reforms introduced to the Public Service by Public Administration Circular No. 6/2006 and connected other Circulars, it has become necessary to amend Service Minutes and Scheme of Recruitments dealing with appointments and promotions of the Public Officers and accordingly, Secretaries to Ministries and Heads of Departments were instructed to prepare new Service Minutes and Schemes of Recruitment and to submit them to the PSC through the National Salaries and Cadres Commission. The Public Service Commission is the authority vested with powers of appointments and promotions of all Public Officers in terms of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.


= In view of delay in preparation of the Service Minutes and Schemes of Recruitment, from time to time, the Secretary to the President, the PSC, the National Salaries and Cadres Commission and the Secretary to Ministry of Public Administration issued several Circulars and reminders to the Secretaries and the Heads of Departments urging them to prepare Service Minutes and Schemes of Recruitment.


= In respect of the Service Minutes of Medical Personnel in the Ministry of Health, the PSC, by letters dated 26 November 2012 and 19 February 2013, specifically directed the Ministry of Health to submit draft Service Minutes, mainly due to the inordinate delay of the Ministry of Health in preparation of draft Service Minute.


= The Secretary, Ministry of Health submitted an incomplete draft Service Minute for the Medical Personnel in the Ministry of Health (i.e., Medical Specialists, Medical Administrators, Grade Medical Officers and Dental Surgeons) on 23rd April 2013 for the very first time, without vital information, documents and his recommendations. Therefore, the Commission informed the Secretary, Ministry of Health on 26th April 2013 to submit the required information, documents and his recommendations.


= The Secretary, Ministry of Health submitted his final recommendations on the draft Service Minute on 30th October 2013. The PSC approved the Service Minute on 31st October 2013. After the minutes of the meeting of the PSC was confirmed the approved documents was sent to the Secretary of Ministry of Health, together with a covering letter dated 4th November 2013, giving him instructions to obtain Policy Clearance of the Cabinet of Ministers on certain matters and to publish the approved Service Minute in the Government Gazette, thereafter. In terms of the Constitution, the power to make Policy Decisions in respect of Public Service is vested exclusively with the Cabinet of Ministers.


= Although, the approved Service Minute was delivered to the Health Ministry on 4th November 2013, no action whatsoever was taken by the Health Ministry to obtain Policy Clearance from the Cabinet of Ministers even by 28th January 2014. In the meantime, the Trade Union concerned carried on propaganda that the Commission had failed to approve the Service Minute.


= On 29th January 2014, the Ministry of Health has sought Policy Clearance of the Cabinet of Ministers for a Service Minute of Sri Lanka Medical Service. However, when the Cabinet of Ministers referred the Service Minute submitted by the Ministry of Health to the Cabinet for observations of the PSC, the Commission found that the Service Minute submitted to the Cabinet by the Ministry of Health is not the same Service Minute approved by the Commission on 31st October 2013 and delivered to the Ministry of Health on the 4th November 2013. The PSC further observed that the purported Service Minute submitted by the Ministry of Health was a completely a new draft which had never been submitted either to the PSC or the National Salaries and Cadres Commission before. The PSC brought this serious misrepresentation to the Cabinet of Ministers and submitted a copy of the Service Minute approved by the Commission on 31st October 2013 together with its observations.


= The Cabinet of Ministers subsequently on 20th February 2014, granted the Policy Clearance to the Service Minute approved by the PSC on the 31st October 2013 and sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Health on 4th November 2013. The Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval for the Service Minute, subject to the incorporation of decisions made as Policy Matters. The Cabinet has further directed the Secretary, Ministry of Health to take steps to amend the Service Minutes in keeping with the Policy Clearance granted by the Cabinet, in consultation with the PSC and to implement the Service Minute with effect from 1st November 2013, the date approved by the PSC.


= It should be highlighted that, as directed by the Cabinet of Ministers, it is the responsibility of the Secretary, Ministry Health to take all follow up action to give effect to the Service Minute approved by the Commission and the Cabinet of Ministers, inclusive of incorporation of the amendments approved by the Cabinet and publish the same in the Government Gazette, in all three languages. This has not been done as yet.


= The PSC has approved the said Service Minute, without prejudice to any step taken or purported to have been taken in terms of the provisions of the existing Medical Service Minute and its amendments. The PSC has not repealed the Transfer Scheme of Specialist Medical Officers and Medical Administrators, which have already been approved and published in the Government Gazettes dated 22nd March 2001 and 16th April 2007. Thus, the Transfer Scheme of the Consultants and the Medical Administrators will continue to be in force till the same is repealed and replaced by a New Transfer Scheme for all officers of Sri Lanka Medical Service. In spite of repeated reminders made by the Commission, the Ministry of Health has not prepared a New Transfer Scheme for Grade Medical Officers and Dental Surgeons as yet. Therefore, the PSC is unable to approve a New Transfer Scheme for all Officers in Sri Lanka Medical Service as a part or an Appendix to the Service Minute or as a separate Approved Transfer Scheme. The PSC has been informed by the Secretary, Ministry of Health by letter dated 25th March 2014, that a draft, of proposed Scheme of Transfers of Medical Officers has beets sent to the GMOA for their observations.


= Further, the Trade Union made another baseless allegation that the Commission has advised the Secretary, Ministry of Health to obtain Cabinet approval to amend the Service Minute already approved, to bring in students with Medical Degrees from local private it Medical Universities.


= The PSC wishes to emphasize that the Medical Degrees granted by "the State or other to local Universities or Foreign Universities which are approved by the Sri Lanka Medical Council have been included in the draft Service Minute as the educational qualification for recruitment of Preliminary Grade Medical Officers by the Ministry of Health and the same has been duly approved by the Commission on 31st October 2013 and when the Service Minute approved by the Commission was presented for Policy Clearance, the Cabinet of Ministers on 20th February 2014 granted the policy Clearance to the Service Minute which contains the said Education Qualifications. Thus, the allegation that the Commission made new amendment to include the Private Local Universities is absolutely false.


= In the circumstances, it is very clear that the PSC has taken action in respect of duties without delay. Therefore, any delay or failure or lapse of other parties should not have been highlighted by distorting real facts, as failures of the PSC.


= In terms of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, every person who any manner whatsoever influences or attempts to influence or interferes with any decision of the PSC commits a very serious offence punishable with imprisonment for term not exceeding seven years among other punishments and in addition, as the Disciplinary Authority of Public Officers, the Commission is vested with power to take disciplinary action against any Public Officer who acts in such manner as to bring the public service into disrepute.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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