Over 110 consultants will have to retire on or before 31 December 2022, jeopardising the health service and postgraduate medical education, if the circular on new retirement age of State employees is implemented, medical specialists warned.
The Ministry of Public Administration recently issued Circular 19/2022 of 14 September 2022 reducing retirement age of State employees to 60 years, following the proposals of Interim Budget 2022.
President of the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS), Dr. Lak Kumar Fernando yesterday (20) said according to certain statistics there would be over 300 medical specialists retiring from government service on or before 31 December 2022.
Accordingly, Dr. Fernando, providing data, said 43 consultants from the National Hospital, Colombo, 30 from National Hospital Kandy, 17 consultants from Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya, 15 from the Lady Ridgeway Hospital, and nine consultants from ‘Apeksha’ Hospital would retire under the new circular.
“In the Budget proposals for 2022 (presented in 2021), the retirement of all government employees was extended to 65 years. While in the Interim Budget Proposals presented earlier this month, the retirement age of government employees was brought down to 60 years. Those who have completed 60 years or more were required to retire by 31 December 2022.” Subsequently, the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration issued a media release (PUB.ADM/SEC/07 on 1 September 2022) stating that the retirement age of more than 60 years of certain special categories of State employees, will remain unchanged as defined in circulars issued earlier. This meant that the Consultants’ retirement age will be 63 years going with the 2018 circular.
The Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration issued another circular on 14 September 2022 (Public Administration Circular: 19/2022) specifying that the retirement age of all public servants will be 60 years, irrespective of the specifications defined in the previous circulars.
“It is interesting to note that the medical specialists who are working in universities and Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital are exempted from this new rule on retirement age due to some unknown reasons,” he claimed.
A large number of newly passed out doctors are preparing for foreign licensing examinations (AMC for Australia, PLAB for the UK) instead of sitting for local postgraduate entry exams. A significant number of these young doctors are very likely to move out of Sri Lanka.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne