Forty seven fully qualified doctors are performing clerical duties at the administrative branch of the health ministry while 92 hospitals remained closed due to the want of doctors, a health ministry trade union activist said yesterday.
“These doctors continue to remain at the health ministry as they are reluctant to serve outside Colombo. Some of them have been here for more than 10 years and refuse to take up duties at hospitals,” he said.
The doctors are attending to the maintaining of files, data entries and typesetting. They do not sign-in when they report to work or sign-out when they leave as other employees do. But they draw the salaries of a fully qualified doctor,” the activist said.
He said this was a crime because the health ministry had been compelled to close down several hospitals in the northeast and central provinces for want of doctors, though 45 hospitals were later opened on the intervention of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena.
Meanwhile Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) General Secretary Upul Gunasekara said the hospitals had to be closed down because doctors were leaving the country in large numbers.
“Even interns are leaving the country. I cannot comment on the number of doctors serving at the health ministry. The GMOA has requested the health ministry to set up a data base for doctors but that has not happened,” Dr. Gunasekara said. (By Sandun A. Jayasekera)