Akila, GMOA battle continues

By Dilanthi Jayamanne


The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday warned it would resort to any form of trade union action against the baseless probe by sections of the government against its President Dr Anuruddha Padeniya and Ex Co members.

 GMOA Secretary, Dr Naveen de Zoysa said two salient decisions had been taken during a General Committee meeting held yesterday morning. There were several moves by certain sections of the government to intimidate the union following the most recent issue regarding schooling facilities for children of some of its members.

 De Zoysa said that the General Committee had also condemned the derogatory comments made by Education Minister, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam against Dr Padeniya and its other Ex- Co members

 He said the union was scheduled to meet with President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday (28) to hold special discussions regarding the issue. It was commendable that President Sirisena and Health Minister, Dr Rajitha Senaratne were making an effort to resolve the schooling crisis for the GMOA membership’s children.

 The GMOA Secretary alleged that sections of government representatives had even gone to the schools attended by children of its (GMOA’s Ex- Co members and inspected documentation, causing severe mental stress to those children concerned.

 He alleged that the certain government bodies had even made secret tapes of a discussion held by the GMOA President with the hope of initiating a probe. 

The tussle between the GMOA and the Education Ministry erupted with several doctors of the GMOA occupying the auditorium of the Ministry for several hours in hope of meeting with at least an official of the Ministry to discuss their children’s schooling issue last week.

 When the schooling issue had come up in 2005 the Education Ministry had issued a circular according to which parents had to prove they had been in residency for a period of five year at a particular address close to the school they hoped to admit their children to. However doctors were transferred every four years. He said former Health Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva had obtained cabinet approval at the time for doctors to be given the special privilege of enrolling their children to national schools.

 Dr Zoysa said former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga too had seen the necessity of such a move as it enabled the country to retain specialists coming after foreign training and ensured that medical officers took up their transfers.

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