GMOA against PGIM stopping Consultant training

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday objected to the draconian law, practiced by the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM), in stopping training of Consultants. The GMOA pointed out that only 1,000 Consultants were serving the medical profession for a population of 20 million.

Due to the dearth of adequate Consultants, long queues, both in the public and private sector hospitals, were a common scene. The GMOA had decided to request Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena not to dance to the tune of the PGIM’s arbitrary decision and to take action to resume training more Consultants, GMOA General Secretary Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa said at a media conference held at the GMOA head office on November 30.

Dr. Epitakaduwa, addressing the media pointed out that Sri Lanka was in dire need of Consultants in thoracic surgery, neurosurgery, vascular diseases and psychiatry, because only 1,000 Consultants could be found in the country. Most Consultants had left for greener pastures for better salaries.

He said that Sri Lanka was lagging behind the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations because WHO had recommended that Sri Lanka should have at least 50,000 psychiatrists for a 20 million population. But, there were only 50 psychiatrists in the country.

Dr. Epitakaduwa added that the GMOA vehemently opposed the decision taken by the PGIM to stop training Consultants. At least Sri Lanka should have 400 psychiatrists to serve a 20 million population.

He said that the PGIM had now taken a decision to cut down training courses meant for post-graduate studies for Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Surgery (MS) annually. It was a detrimental move by the PGIM. "On what grounds does the PGIM cut down post-graduate training of doctors. Studying is a continuous process. When the country is devoid of consultants, the PGIM takes anti-social decisions," he said.

According to the GMOA, the Executive Committee will meet Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena next week and convince him of the importance of post-graduate training in Sri Lanka.

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