The Health Ministry differed the ‘exclusive fuel arrangement’ that had been granted for healthcare workers for 48 hours, citing the prevailing situation.
Health Ministry Secretary, S. Janaka Sri Chandraguptha, in a letter to the Secretaries of the Ministry of Public Administration, Defence and Power and Energy yesterday (7) said his Ministry had been advised to defer the exclusive arrangements which had been made for healthcare workers to have the fuel tanks of their vehicles filled today (8) considering the prevailing situation and the present circumstances. Health workers were allocated 113 ‘Ceypetco’ sheds to pump fuel for their vehicles. The programme will be differed for 48 hours. A new date will be notified in due course subsequent to review, the Health Sectary said. The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), when contacted for comment, said it had been discussed with the Health Ministry, which had informed the doctors union that the advisory had been issued following a Security Council meeting which had stressed on possible unrest and public agitations that were in the offing.
GMOA Secretary, Dr. Haritha Aluthge said since Friday was the day allocated for health workers, the union had made a special appeal to the Health Ministry to make the necessary arrangements to reschedule the fuel day for health employees to Monday or Tuesday, next week as the health employees could not afford to languish in fuel queues leaving aside their hospital duty. In addition, the union had also appealed to authorities to allocate the stocks of fuel meant for Friday to the next rescheduled date.
As it is, hospitals are struggling to run their ambulances, while health employees in State hospitals have been forced to either take public transport, ride bicycles, or walk to their hospitals to ensure that emergencies are attended to and hospital services are maintained.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne