JVP Union sees gradual elimination of free health care


By Don Asoka Wijewardenaa

All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) President Gamini Kumarasinghe yesterday accused the government of gradually eliminating the free health service. The 2012 budget had allocated Rs.500 million for the construction of a new Out Patient Department (OPD) at the Colombo National Hospital and only public servants who had been contributing Rs.75 to the National Trust Fund (NTF) would be permitted to receive treatment there. It would need 250 nurses, he said.

Such action indicated that free health service in the country would diminish little by little, he said.Although a public servant performed duties five days a week, a nurse had to work six days a week. A great injustice was meted out to nurses because though

Rs.100 was recommended for a nurse doing an additional day of over time, nurses were getting only Rs.65, he revealed on the occasion of celebrating the 14th anniversary of the Ceylon Health Services Federation at Colombo Public Library auditorium on November 1.

Kumarasinghe said that while the State health sector was in a deep crisis as a result of omissions and commissions of the Health Ministry, there was a conspiracy to promote private sector investments in the State health sector. The new OPD would consist of a 15-storey complex. "When this OPD caters to the needs of public servants, from where do the ordinary people receive treatment?", he asked

All Ceylon Government Medical Officers Association (ACGMOA) Organizing Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara said that in 2006, the government introduced Private Medical Institution Act to regulate all private hospitals. But, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, neither Health Ministry officials nor any other officials had the power to conduct investigations on complaints made by the general public against private hospitals. It was a great injustice, he said.

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