GMOA wants free fuel or allowance hike

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Government Medical Officers’ Association yesterday demanded that their members be granted 120 litres of fuel a month as a substitute for the transport allowance and Rs.8,000 as Disturbance and Availability allowance.

If the government did not want to grant 120 litres of fuel free of charge, the GMOA would ask the government to provide Rs. 29,000 as Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowances. In 2008 President Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed to pay Rs. 29,000, but that promise had been broken, GMOA General Secretary Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa told a Media Conference at the GMOA head office yesterday (22).

He said that all doctors had a sense of responsibility and dedication to save the lives of patients. But if they could not find suitable residences near hospitals, they had to come to hospital from distant places. Although the duty hours of a doctor was from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., he or she was supposed to look after patients under his or her care.

He pointed out that when the hospital called doctors to attend on patients, those, doctors who had vehicles had to spend their own money to come to hospitals. Those who did not have vehicles had to come to hospitals by public transport. On some occasions hospital ambulances were sent to bring doctors. It was a time-consuming task, because the ambulance driver had to get approvals from several officials.

Dr. Epitakaduwa added that at present Rs. 15,000 was being paid as Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowance which was not enough to meet the escalating fuel prices. The GMOA would ask the government to expedite granting of 120 litres of fuel a month free of charge along with Rs.8000 or give Rs. 29,000 as Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowance.

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