Section of GMOA jeopardising legitimate placements – MAFSL
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The machinations of a section of Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA or the Union) prevented permanent appointment of qualified medical administrators to over 120 hospitals including the National Hospital of Nephrology, in Polonnaruwa which has resulted in them functioning under administrators who were serving only in ‘acting’ capacity, the Medical Administrators Forum Sri Lanka, (MAFSL or the Forum), stated.
MAFSL President Arjuna Thilakarathne urged Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and the Government to give them their due place instead of being intimidated by the Union which has a vested interest in the matter. Despite the Government spending Rs 16 million on each prospective MBBS qualified Doctor reading for a Post-Graduate Degree in Medical Administration (PG in Medical Admin) it was still unable to grant appointments owing to the opposition by a section of the Union members.
He alleged that 90 per cent of the Forum held membership with the GMOA which was more interested in fulfilling their political agenda and gathering political leverage rather than attending to issues of their membership.
The PG in Medical Admin was established in 1996. On 10 March 2021 those who had qualified themselves in PG Medical Admin received legal sanction which upheld their priority during appointments. But contrary to the provisions of the Gazette, a section of the GMOA has been calling for its abrogation while stating that Medical Admin position should be open to all PG Degree holders without preference or priority.
Vice President of the MAFSL, Dr. Priyantha Karunaratne lamented that the Health Ministry was unable to fill the existing medical administrative vacancies upon the approval of Public Service Commission (PSC) due to this conflict of interest. Responding to queries, the Vice President of MAFSL which has a strength of 300 members, said that preliminary interviews to fill the vacant Medical Admin positions had not been conducted since 2016 owing to the Union’s opposition. He accused the Union of ‘apparently being in favour of weak medical administrators such as those who served only in ‘acting’ capacity, so that they could hold the upper hand.’
“We have discussed this issue with the Health Minister, who has agreed in principle with the Forum. It is unfortunate that the Union seems to be intimidating not only Minister Rambukwella’s Ministry but also the Government by ‘showing off’ its strength, ” Dr. Karunaratne alleged.
The GMOA last week took umbrage when Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath accused the Union of pressurising the Health Ministry into not appointing medical administrators to Hospitals, in a bid to carry out its own agenda in the Health Ministry and State Hospitals.
The Union in turn accused the MP Herath of having used language which was unsavoury at the forum.