Strike affects hospitals, docs reject PM’s offer

Budget proposals affecting public sector



Patients at the National Hospital during the token strike by government doctors. pic by Sujatha Jayaratne

Government doctors staged a 24-hour token strike yesterday after talks with Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne on Tuesday(01) night had failed. It is scheduled to end at 8.00 am today (04).

The other unions which joined the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) called off their strike yesterday evening.

General Secretary of the GMOA told the media yesterday that the GMOA and other professional outfits under the banner of the Joint Committee of Executive Officers in the All Island Services (JCEOAIS) were not prepared to accept Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s proposal to provide duty free vehicle permits once in 10 years and restrict the number of permits to two.

The 18 union outfit called for the government to reverse its 2016 budgetary decision to scrap the non-contributory pension scheme, increase basic salaries of government services and do away with the tax concessions and vehicle permits for doctors and senior professionals in the state service.

The GMOA said its representatives would meet President Maithripala Sirisena at 10.00 am today.

Meanwhile, the token strike by doctors in country wide hospitals largely affected the Hospital OPDs and clinics yesterday. Scant medical services were provided by doctors in some parts of the country while hospital administrators sought the assistance of consultants to maintain some services.

A spokesman for the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital (BTH), contacted for comment, said that theatre services had been maintained with general and emergency surgeries being performed and consultants’ clinics had also functioned as usual. House officers had also assisted in maintaining services at the Hospital. However, the OPDs had been severely affected due to the strike.

The Puttlam Base Hospital (PBH) had to cancel four clinics owing to the strike initiated GMOA. Routine surgeries were canceled while emergency surgeries and caesarian operations were performed, Medical Superintendent of the Puttalam Base Hospital, Dr. Sumith Attanayake said, adding that the OPD was also affected by the strike. The PBH OPD sees over 600 patients daily.

The Medical services provided by the Ratnapura Provincial General Hospital was also affected by the doctors’ strike with only emergencies being maintained.

The OPD and clinics at the National Hospital were largely affected by the doctors’ token strike. NHSL Director, Dr. Anil Jasinghe said patients admissions had been being carried out while emergency and essential services were being maintained by the doctors.

Dr Jasinghe said that the hospital theatres and ICU services were also functional. Although the Cardiology Unit was affected by the strike the Catheterisation and Endoscopy Units were functioning, he said.

The striking GMOA exempted Lady Ridgeway, Colombo and Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Peradeniya Children’s Hospitals, Maharagama and Thellippalai Cancer Hospitals and Castle Street, De Soysa, Mahamodara and Kethumati Maternity Hospitals.

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