GMOA faults Jaffna hospital head for closure of 14 rural hospitals

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday alleged that approximately 14 rural hospitals, peripheral clinics and Central dispensaries in the Jaffna Peninsula had been shut down as the Jaffna Teaching Hospital had not released 79 doctors on the annual transfer list.

GMOA president Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya pointed out that those 79 doctors, who should have been transferred, were still serving at the Jaffna hospital. Some consultants in the Jaffna hospital had visited the Health Ministry and had asked Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilka not to halt transfers. People affected by closure of peripheral hospitals had complained to the GMOA that due to the closure of 14 rural hospitals and clinics they were unable to get medical treatment.

Dr. Padeniya said that the people in the affected areas had requested the GMOA to take legal action to sort out this problem. In response to their request, the GMOA had guided them to institute legal action against the Jaffna Teaching hospital Director Dr. Mrs. Bavani Pasupathiraja, who was alleged to have refused to release even a single doctor from the Jaffna hospital. "Because of the Jaffna hospital director’s refusal to release doctors on annual transfers, many people in the outlying areas were greatly affected," he said.

He added that the transfer scheme adopted by the Health Ministry left much to be desired. NHL Director Dr. Anil Jasinghe and Karapitiya hospital Director Dr. Shelton Perera had released a number of doctors without creating problems.

When contacted, Jaffna Teaching hospital Directress Dr. Mrs. Bavani Pasupathiraja said that the GMOA was always finding fault with her administration. She had met Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilka and had discussed the issue with him at length. Dr. Jayathilaka had advised her to release the doctors without interrupting the patient care. But if trained doctors, especially in the ICU had been transferred out, all of a sudden there would be severe repercussions. The doctors who would come as replacements would have to be trained for at least a few months.

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