PC’ attempt to grab doctors gets GMOA goat

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday warned it would resort to a strike if the North Central Provincial Council attempted to bring doctors serving in the Province under the provincial health service.

Addressing the media at the OPA, GMOA Ex-co Member Dr. Nalinda Herath revealed that the Secretary of the North Central Province (NCP) had, in a letter, informed the Provincial Director Health Services (PDHS) that the Council had taken a decision to absorb doctors under its purview.

Dr. Herath said doctors belonged to the All-Island service. He said an attempt had been made to bring doctors under provincial administration immediately after the establishment of provincial councils. He said the health care system was under the central government even in federal states.

There had been several attempts by the Provincial Councils to take over medical services, said Dr. Herath. When Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was the President the GMOA had been compelled to launch a long drawn out strike before convincing her of the danger of permitting provincial councils to take over the administration of doctors. It was only then that a gazette notification had been issued making doctors an All- Island service. Dr. Herath said.

Assistant Secretary Dr Naveen D. Zoysa said that by retaining doctors under the Health Ministry of the Central government it was much easier to maintain the quality of service and ensure that patients in countrywide government hospitals received a similar service. However, at one time there was an attempt by the Northern Province to retain MBBS Graduates who qualified from the Jaffna Medical Faculty within the NP as it assumed that they would all be conversant in Tamil and were from in and around the area. Unfortunately, what the Chief Minister of the Northern Province did not understand was that the medical students who entered the Jaffna Medical Faculty were ranked according to the marks they received at their G.C.E. A/Level examination.

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