GMOA gears for all- out trade union action next week

Four hour strike cripples clinics

by Dilanthi Jayamanne

Patients attending clinics in country-wide hospitals were inconvenienced by the four hour strike initiated by the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) yesterday.

A spokesman for the Jaffna Teaching Hospital when contacted said that services of the Out Patinets Department (OPD) and clinics had been affected. Eight clinics were canceled due to the strike, he said.

The spokesman said however, that emergency services were carried out during the strike.

The Deputy Director of the Kandy Teaching Hospital, Dr. Nishshanka Wijewardane said the hospital attended to over one million patients annually. But yesterday morning 15 – 20 had been canceled and a minimum of 1000 patients were affected by the strike, he said.

Dr Wijewardane said however that emergency and ICU services had been maintained during the strike.

Sources at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital said the OPD and clinics had been affected but that emergency services had been maintained. They said however that they were unable to give the number of clinics that were scheduled to be held during the strike.

All efforts to contact the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital failed as the Director the Deputy Director and the Administrative officer were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

The Health Ministry issuing a statement said Colombo, Gampaha, Kegalle and Mahamodara Teaching Hospital in the Galle District had been exempted from the strike in addition to the women's and Children's hospitals the cancer hospitals and units as well as those which treated patients with kidney disease.

The Health Ministry spokesman said services had been maintained in the peripheral hospitals by registered and assistant medical practitioners while specialists and intern medical officers had stepped in to attend to the warded patients. Most hospitals carried out routine and emergency surgeries, he said.

Meanwhile Secretary GMOA, Dr Nalinda Herath said the strike had been a success. "We will see the government's response within the next few days to our demand. The Union will to hold an emergency General Committee meeting on Thursday (02) to decide on the next course of action," he said.

The GMOA struck work demanding the Health Ministry rectify the Post Intern Appointment list for 2016 which had been tampered with

He said that in most probability the GMOA was ready to go for a continuous strike next week.

Responding to a question he said the Union was not against the opening of peripheral health care units which had been shut down. But there should not be nepotism involved in those appointments.

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