Cancer Hospital: 28 doctors transferred without replacements

By Don Asoka Wijewardena  

Several patients scheduled to undergo surgery at the Maharagama Cancer Institute (MCI) are in difficulty as 28 doctors have been transferred without replacements.

Urgent surgical operations had been postponed due to lack of trained anaesthetists and doctors trained in surgery, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

GMOA media spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa told The Island that though the MCI had released around 28 doctors without replacements.

Dr. Soysa said that many cancer patients referred to the MCI from other hospitals for urgent treatment, especially for surgery, were at high risk as the currently available doctors and anaesthetists were unable to cope with the load. Even those doctors who had been transferred to the CMI had not reported for duty so far.

The GMOA spokesman said the Colombo South Teaching hospital and Homagama Base hospitals had not responded to the needs of the Cancer Institute as the Directors in those hospitals were reluctant to release their doctors.

Colombo South Teaching Hospital Director Dr. Asela Gunawardena said he was not in a position to release any anaesthetists or other doctors as his hospital, too was also short of medical personnel. The anaesthetists had to be on duty at the ICU around the clock. The doctors who had been transferred to the Colombo South Teaching hospital had not reported for duty, he said, adding that he had only received their personal files and salary particulars. "If I release the doctors I will be in trouble. The ICU needs anaesthetists at all times to take care of the patients who have been operated on. I will release some of the doctors before the end of the year."

Homagama Hospital Director Dr. Pradeep Ratnesakera, when contacted, said that he knew that all doctors had to be transferred every four years. But, patients needing surgical care had to be taken care of by trained anaesthetists and doctors.

Maharagama Cancer hospital Deputy Director Dr. Wasantha Dissanayaka said that the Institute had released 28 doctors including anaesthetists, on annual transfers. But, he had not received any replacements so far. "I will assure that no patient will be affected. I have made arrangements to continue with the scheduled surgeries. I totally dismiss the allegations made by the GMOA."

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