Docs call off countrywide strike

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The powerful Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday called off its country-wide indefinite strike scheduled to be launched from today after Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena agreed to get the Cabinet to approve the doctors’ service minute within two weeks.

GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya told The Island that the GMOA had had a lengthy discussion with Minister Sirisena, Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka and several other high officials of the Ministry yesterday to resolve the service minute issue. Although three major Ministries, Public Administration, Finance and Health had recommended the minute the Public Service Commission (PSC), had been delaying the approval process purposely.

He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also recommended the promotional scheme of doctors in 2009 in accordance with the 2006/ No 6 circular.

The circular categorically mentioned that there were two promotional schemes.

The first one was transfer of doctors without post-graduate qualifications and the second one was transference of doctors with post-graduate qualifications. The circular had clearly mentioned that, the GMOA said.

At yesterday’s discussion Minister Sirisena had asked the PSC to send its observations on the minute before 4.00 p.m. But the PSC had failed to comply, Dr. Padeniya said.

He said that Minister Sirisena promised that he would submit a Cabinet paper to get the service minute approved without by-passing the PSC. According to the Minister it would take two weeks to get the approval. Under the present favourable circumstances, the GMOA Executive Committee decided to call off today’s scheduled strike.

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