UNP wants Open Uni to conduct Act 16 course

Foreign qualified doctors:


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, MP, on behalf of the UNP, yesterday proposed that the government and the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) launch a special course to help those foreign qualified medical graduates still struggling to obtain the local licence to practise medicine and surgery.

Dr. Jayawardena said that the ACT 16 examination had become a major obstacle to those graduates. Asked whether he wanted the government/SLMC to do away with ACT 16, Jayawardena said that a licensing examination was necessary to ensure those trained abroad met local standards. Medical graduates couldn’t be allowed to practise here unless they passed the licensing examination, he said.

Having admitted that the licensing examination was a prerequisite for foreign trained personnel being absorbed into the system, the MP urged the government/SLMC to explore the possibility of having a special course at the Open University of Nawala to prepare them for the ACT 16 examination. He placed the number of graduates waiting for the examination at 1,000. "The issue here is that the failure rate of foreign trained graduates is extremely high. Obviously they find the local examination too difficult. We can address that issue and the best possible way is for a special course to be conducted at Nawala at an affordable fee.’

Responding to a query by The Island, the MP said that the graduates were being fleeced by some doctors in the guise of preparing them for Act 16.

SLMC Chief, Dr. M. J. Nonis yesterday attributed what he called a high failure rate at the licensing examination to the foreign qualified medical graduates having to sit the final MBBS like their counterparts from medical faculties here.

Dr. Nonis said that the SLMC had been compelled to introduce the final MBBS paper in 2009 consequent to a Supreme Court directive. Nothing could be changed as regards the ACT 16 unless the Supreme Court intervened again, he said.

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