Children’s cardiac critical care complex built at tremendous cost idles as anaesthetists demand their pound of flesh


By Saman Indrajith

Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament yesterday that the Little Heart Project initiated to build a Cardiac and Critical Care Complex at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital to treat children afflicted with Congenital Heart Diseases was in a dilemma due to a tug of war between anaesthetists and surgeons.

 Responding to a question raised by Joint Opposition MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Senaratne said that total amount of funds meant for the Little Heart Fund had been received.

  Nanayakkara requested Minister Senaratne to inform the House of the progress of the project so far.

Minister Senaratne said: "This project was initiated for saving lives of our children. Health Ministry granted Rs 300 million to the fund. If we can start surgeries as soon as possible, we will be able to save thousands of lives."

Minister Senaratne said the buildings including theatres had all been completed.

The anaesthetists demanded that they be paid the same amount a surgeons for a surgery conducted after 4.00 pm, the Health Minister said. The surgeons however were not happy, he added.

 Minister Senaratne said: Anaesthetists are paid half or one third of the amount the surgeons receive. Even the private hospitals follow that method.  But, now, they demand an equal payment. They demand that if surgeons get paid Rs. 50,000 after 4pm, they, too, want the exact amount for participating in the operations."

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