NCP docs to stage 24 hour strike over fight with PHI

By Don Asoka Wijewardena     

About 1,200 medical officers of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) attached to the Anuradhapura Teaching hospital, the Polonnaruwa General hospital and 80 peripheral clinics in the North-Central province will launch a 24-hour token strike on March 17 from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 a.m. the following day in protest against the inability of taking action against Public Health Inspectors’ union General Secretary Senerath Bandara.

 GMOA General Committee member Dr. Navinda Soyza said that the North-Central province Health Minister S. B. Semasinghe had not taken disciplinary action against PHI Bandara found guilty by the recent inquiry conducted by the Health Ministry.

 Even the NCP health secretary was trying to protect PHI Bandara, Dr. Soyza said.

 He said the NCP health minister’s partiality towards Bandara had caused many problems in the province. The trade union action was against the Provincial Health Minister ‘incapable of performing the job impartially’. The doctors attached to 80 medical centres would keep away from duties on March 17, but all emergency cases would be attended.

Provincial Health Minister Semasinghe, contacted for comment, dismissed the allegations made by the GMOA. Action against the PHI could not be taken at the moment as the inquiry report was not clear. He was of the view that the GMOA had been hounding PHI Bandara as he had complained against an epidemiologist a few years back. But once he received the full inquiry report he would not hesitate to take disciplinary action against PHI Bandara, the minister said.

 Bandara, contacted for comment, said that the GMOA had launched a witch hunt against him as he reported a fraud committed by a certain medical specialist in Polonnaruwa.

The inquiry the GMOA was talking about had been completed and he had not been found guilty, Bandra said, adding that he had got a transfer to another area due to GMOA pressure.

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