Medical practitioners to join hartal

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Medical practitioners too will show their opposition to the Government during tomorrow’s (6) hartal, the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) said, urging the public to refrain from channelling their services in the private sector in view of the hartal, as they too had decided to throw their weight behind it.

President and Secretary AMS, Drs. LakKumar Fernando and R. Gnanasekeram, said yesterday (4) however that they had decided to participate in the hartal with minimum inconvenience to the public. “The AMS planned to take part in the campaign in collaboration with the private sector medical specialists and the University Medical Specialists.”

They said their service in State hospitals would be provided as normal, while all emergencies would be attended to. Members of the Medical Union would participate in the protest campaigns in hospitals during lunch hour with other healthcare workers. The duo said medical specialists would also refrain from channel practice, attending only to emergencies in the private sector. 

They appealed to the public not to seek channel services to see a medical specialist on this day.

Meanwhile, the Medical and Civilian Rights Professional Association of Doctors (MCPA) have requested all medical practitioners to refrain from engaging in private practice on the day of the ‘hartal campaign.’  President and Secretary of the MCPA, Drs. Chamal Sanjeewa and Jayaruwan Bandara accused of having failed to even provide the public with their fundamental right to live.

They called for all medical practitioners who provide free healthcare to the public who benefitted from the free education to close their private practices on this date in support of the hartal organised by a coalition of trade unions and civil organisations.

Coordinator, All Ceylon Medical Officers Association (ACMOA), Dr. Jayantha Bandara said the Union would take part in strike tomorrow (6) in all hospitals except the Apeksha Hospital for cancer patients, women and children’s hospitals. The collapse in the health service which has resulted in the shortage of drugs and medical equipment, and pay cuts were results of poor governance, he observed.

Over 2,000 trade unions and civil society organisations have expressed support for the 24-hour hartal and trade union action. Unions that have pledged their support include health, transportation, railways, electricity, and education sectors.

The aim of the hartal is to force the Government, including the President, to step down.

The Centre said train services would be suspended till midnight on the day, while the public has been requested to hoist black flags and close shops and business places in protest. It also appealed to religious places to hold shabda poojas from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and for vehicles on the road to sound their horns at the same time of the shabda pooja.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne