GMOA warns public healthcare could collapse


The Government Medical officers’ Association (GMOA) warned of a severe collapse in the public healthcare system, revealing that at least 50 doctors had left the country without approval of the Health Ministry during last few months, forcing the latter to issue ‘vacation of post’ notices to them.

A survey by the GMOA covering all major hospitals in the island last week revealed that close to 500 doctors had left the country during the past eight months.

GMOA Secretary, Dr. Haritha Aluthge lamented on Friday (9), that the most serious issue was that some of them left Sri Lanka without the approval of the Health Ministry. He said that during last few months at least 50 doctors had left the country forcing the Health Ministry to issue ‘vacation of post’ notices.

Dr. Aluthge said authorities should take immediate steps to bring the situation under control by taking immediate steps to issue the circular related to that which was issued by the Ministry of Public Administration circular granting special leave up to five years for all Government employees to apply for foreign employment without affecting their seniority. “But unfortunately even after two months the Health Ministry has been unable to issue the amended circular for medical practitioners to avail themselves of this opportunity,” he accused.  

Dr. Aluthge stressed the importance of issuing this circular to prevent a collapse in the public healthcare system.

He urged the Health Ministry to obtain a proper assessment of the islandwide hospital system and its services.  “Action should be taken to present an accurate assessment regarding the maximum number of doctors who could be sent abroad without disrupting services.

The GMOA Secretary urged authorities to take steps in organising a programme that would give proper value to the foreign exchange the country receives from doctors going abroad. This would help them to channel forex to the country directly with confidence, Dr. Aluthge added.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne