Don’t suspend foreign training opportunities

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Medical practitioners urged the President and the Finance Ministry not to suspend recruitment and foreign training opportunities for doctors, due to the economic crisis of the country, as such moves would result in a further collapse of the state health service.

President of the Medical and Civil Rights Professional Association of Doctors (MCPA), Dr. Chamal Sanjeewa yesterday (17) warned that the national budget circular issued by the Treasury Secretary on 26 April 2022 on the ‘Control of Public Expenditure’ would result in a further collapse of the state health service owing to a shortage of health personnel and foreign trained consultants.

He said according to the circular, instructions had been issued for the postponement of recruitment to positions to which appointments had not yet been made despite preliminary arrangements. Also, it calls for the suspension of state-funded foreign study tours and training due to the financial crisis the island was facing.  

Dr. Sanjeewa said this move would affect the recruitment of MBBS qualified medical officers to the state health sector, so much so that it would create a shortage of doctors to run hospitals in the future. On the other hand, it would also create a shortage of consultants in the country in the next few years. The impact of this move would not be felt immediately, but repercussions would be felt in time to come, he warned.

It would also increase the level of unemployment of trained health service personnel who are much needed to fill the existing shortages.

Dr. Sanjeewa appealed to the President and the Finance Ministry to resolve the financial crisis, but to continue providing the required USD 36,000 for the foreign training of consultant doctors without creating a further dilemma for the state health service.

The circular had noted at the time that public expenditure had to be strictly controlled, so that it could be used only for the most essential services.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne