Government doctors threaten to strike on 13 October

Doctor's strike in Sri Lanka

More strikes are in the offing in the State health service, with doctors taking up the cudgel, warning that they too would strike on Wednesday (13) if the Health Ministry does nothing to rectify the inconsistencies in the annual transfer list and award post internship appointments instead of merely exchanging letters with the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Secretary, Dr.Senal Fernando said that the Central Committee of the GMOA had met and decided to strike on Wednesday (13),  demanding that the Health Ministry get its act together and prepare the Transfer Noted List with the Effective Date corrected in accordance with the Procedural Rules that have been gazetted. Instead, officials in the Health Ministry have by-passed the Transfer Board and prepared a listing with a wrong Effective Date.

The Central Committee has also warned that they would “not apply for transfers” also as a trade union action until the Effective Date for the 2022 annual transfer list, which was currently published, was corrected, Dr. Fernando warned. “The transfer list of grade doctors for the year 2022 is being prepared arbitrarily by the officials of the Ministry of Health without Transfer Board approval,” he accused.

The Health Ministry is able to provide a healthcare service throughout Sri Lanka in an efficient and smooth manner due to the strict supervision of the Transfer Boards when appointing Specialist Doctors and Grade Medical Officers affiliated to it.

Unfortunately, the Ministry is in the habit of delaying the task that has been assigned to it. The Union Secretary noted that already there had been nine letters exchanged between the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Health Ministry with repeated and unnecessary clarifications regarding the Procedural Rules and circulars on appointments and transfers.

He said these delays had begun in 2016. The preparation and implementation of annual transfer lists has been delayed for almost one year in 2016, and has now become a habit for the Health Ministry. Also, in 2020 there was a delay in publishing the transfer lists of specialist doctors and grade doctors for the year 2021, he added.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Dilanthi Jayamanne)