Docs’ strike in Galle brings misery to patients

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

A token strike by doctors in the Galle district brought misery to thousands of patients requiring medical attention yesterday.

The strike, launched by the GMOA Branch unions, crippled 89 rural, district and peripheral, hospitals, Central Dispensaries and 19 MoH divisions. It was in protest against Galle Mayor Methsiri de Silva allegedly abusing and obstructing Galle MoH, Dr. Venura Sinagarachchi.

With around 1,000 doctors joining the strike, all routine operations, OPDs, and the clinics came to a standstill, but emergency cases were attended to, according to GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalin Ariyaratne.

He said that the GMOA would not hesitate to take stronger trade union action if the police failed to take legal action against the Mayor.

When contacted, Dr .Venura Singarachchi said that Mayor de Silva had agreed to provide a vehicle, furniture and a photocopying machine to his office but the former had the dumping of sewage into the Mahamodara river and the sea authorised. Dr. Singarachchi said he had not approved the request because it was illegal and

Galle Mayor Methsiri de Silva, when contacted for comment, dismissed all allegations levelled against him by MOH Dr. Singarachchi. It was the duty of the Health Ministry to provide all the requirements needed by the MOH. The strike was illegal, because Dr. Singarachchi should have discussed the issues with him, he said. Dr. Singarachchi and the GMOA should have given 21 days notice before launching a strike, he said.

When asked whether the police would take action against the Mayor, Galle Police Headquarters Inspector Satis Gamage said that just because Dr. Singarachchi had made a compliant to the police that the Mayor had threatened and intimidated him, the Mayor could not be arrested, but some sort of action would be taken against him.

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