Docs’ strike cripples hospitals countrywide



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By Dilanthi Jayamanne


A doctors’ strike crippled the Out Patient Departments (OPDs) and clinics around the country yesterday despite Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne’s claim that his Ministry was prepared to meet any situation.


National Hospital Deputy Director, Dr Cyril de Silva said doctors had attended to all emergencies and essential services of the hospital and patients had also been admitted.


However, 15 to 20 clinics for follow-up patients had been cancelled. First time patients to clinics, however, had been examined by medical consultants, he said.


Director of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, Dr T. Sathyamoorti said OPD, clinics and routine surgeries had been affected by the strike.


OPD and clinics were affected at the Kurunegala, Kandy and Anuradhapura Teaching hospitals as well.


The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), addressing the media in Colombo yesterday afternoon, warned that though its strike would end this (01) morning at 8.00 am it would convene a meeting with All Island Services Executive Grade trade unions numbering 18 on Tuesday (06) to decide on the next course of action against the looming doom for the public services and free health care system if some controversial budget proposals inimical to the national interest were ratified by Parliament.


GMOA Secretary Dr Naveen de Zoysa said the union’s Ex- co would convene a meeting today (01) to plan more agitations against the budget. All their requests for meetings with the President, the Prime Minister Health and Finance Ministers et al had gone unheeded and they were left with no alternative but to resort to trade union action, he said.


The GMOA Secretary said Budget 2017 would severely affect the public service and its future as the authorities were all out to privatise the free health service. Allocations for education and health had been curtailed and plans were afoot to introduce scheme for schoolchildren. The Sri Lankan job market had also been opened to foreign nationals, he said.


The Government Dental Surgeons Association (GDSA) and the Government Ayurvedic Doctors Association (GADA) and Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU also had pledged their support for trade union action, the GMOA said.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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