Mischief by some Ministry Officials – Ravi Kumudesh
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
Health services alleged that the Cabinet Paper recommending a 78% allowance to doctors was one which had been formulated by Health Ministry officials who aimed at creating a severe crisis in the health sector during pandemic situation.
Convener for the Health Trade Union Confederation (HTUC), Ravi Kumudesh warned on Wednesday (16), that although the remaining non-medical health services in Government Service had been given a Special Allowance of Rs 7,500 till August 2021 in view of the COVID-19 situation following the resistance which had risen from amongst the nonmedical trade unions, this does not cover the injustice caused to all other health categories in the State health service.
“Although, the HTUC temporarily shelved the trade union action which it had scheduled for this week and the next temporarily, it would watch to see how the Health Ministry implements it and some of the other demands to which it agreed.”
The officials who were responsible for throwing the Health Ministry into this dilemma would also suddenly figure out the difficulties that the Treasury had in paying this money to the 150 000 health service employees, he said. Lashing out, the HTUC Convener alleged that the responsibility of this situation should be taken by the Additional Secretary (Medical Services) and the Acting Deputy Director General (Medical Services) who seem to be prejudiced against non-medical health staff.
Which was why the Acting DDG (Medical Services) sought to implement the essential services gazette when the non-medical health staff at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children staged a protest in view of several demands including the injustice of the 78% allowance which was given to doctors.
The Government and not any other party has sought to implement the gazette despite its presence. He alleged that it had been the Acting DDG’s actions which had resulted in moving the health staff at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital to strike. Kumudesh said that the HTUC had written to the President and the Health Minister pointing out that the presence of such officials in the Health Ministry at this juncture would only help create further issues. The Confederation strongly objected to the Health Minister and the Health Secretary seeking advice from such officials. “We did not seek any monetary demands during this crisis situation.
These officials should take responsibility for the situation. One of the officials was responsible for an issue related to body bags last year. And now another issue has been formulated to create friction amongst health staff engaged in battling the coronavirus, he alleged. Meanwhile, Spokesman for the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Dr. Samantha Ananda explaining the 78% allowance said that Regional medical officers, and medical officers who were constantly in contact with COVID-19 patients in hospitals were entitled to this amount.
He said that to receive the amount the doctor has to complete six extra duty hours and the head of his or her Unit and the Health Institution should approve it. The Medical Practitioner has to work for a total 30 days to receive this amount, he said. Neither the Acting DDG (Medical Services) nor the Assistant Secretary was available for comment.