Telephone allowance not paid even to doctors in Health Ministry

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

None of the doctors in the country had received their telephone allowance - not even those serving in the Health Ministry, Director General Health Services of the Western Province, Dr. A. Harsha De Silva said.

He said that although the Health Ministry had issued the circular for the payment of doctors’ telephone bills none of the provincial councils had the financial allocations to do so.

Dr. De Silva said that doctors of the National Hospital and even those under the Health Ministry itself had not been paid their telephone allowance. "If the Ministry issued a circular directing provincial councils to pay the credit card bills of doctors, I would do so provided the WPC had the resources – the funds", he said.

He would need approximately 240 million rupees to pay the telephone bills of doctors. He had forwarded the circular issued by the Health Ministry in April this year to the Governor of the Western Province for approval. However, he said his hands were tied as the Provincial Council did not have the funds to pay the bills, he said.

According to the circular medical officers are entitled to a telephone allowance of Rs. 6,000 while consultants, to an allowance of Rs 12,000. The allowance is paid for the bills incurred during on-call duty. However applications with the telephone numbers of doctors have to be forwarded to the health ministry for approval.

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA ) said that even this preliminary step had not been taken by the PDHS office despite appeals made by the doctors under the Western Province administration . They threatened a one day token strike this week if the WPC did not take steps to follow the circular at least by sending the names and numbers. However a spokesman for the GMOA said that the strike had been called off as the PDHS office had taken steps to send the applications to the Health Ministry.

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