Fuel stations have been instructed to provide service to the State health sector round the clock on every Friday.
Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said health sector employees have been allocated Fridays to pump fuel to their vehicles, in a bid to prevent the State health service from collapsing due to the prevailing fuel crisis in the country.
Minister Rambukwella told the media yesterday (20) that 74 fuel stations had been identified to serve health employees on every Friday. Therefore, health service staff including professorial staff from medical faculties, medical specialists, doctors, nurses and health assistants in the country can have the tanks of their vehicles filled on that particular day as had been decided following discussions with his Cabinet counterpart for Power and Energy, Minister Kanchana Wijesekera.
The Health Minister said he had held lengthy and fruitful discussions with Minister Wijesekera. “However, this is not a final decision. We would be able to assess the ground situation once it is implemented and make necessary arrangements to fine tune the process,” he said.
The Minister noted that matters could be further discussed if there were changes in the limitations that had been imposed on the amount of petrol and diesel that could be purchased at a time.
Director General Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Asela Gunawardena said all 150,000 State health service cadre had not been provided with accommodations. Therefore, all have to either use public transport or use their private vehicles. The fuel shortage has impacted even the health service employees forcing them to languish in fuel queues for hours and days at times.
“We are aware that the rest of the public too faced with difficulties due to the fuel issue.
But, if we are not able to get down these health workers to their stations it would prove a bigger threat to the lives of patients,” he said appealing to the general public to exercise a little curtesy by not thinking that the health staff was grabbing their slots in the queues.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne and Thameenah Razeek