Some 1,200 doctors attached to the National Hospital will launch a strike today in protest against the recent appointment of two members to the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) and the government’s failure to provide a special allowance to government doctors.
All doctors will be pulling out of all duties except from emergency services from 8 am today to 8 am tomorrow.
The Government Medical Officers Association National Hospital Spokesman Dr. Shehan Azeez said they were protesting against the appointment of Dr. Shirley Herath and Dr. Rizvy Sherif to the SLMC. “We unanimously decided to protest because these doctors should not be in the SLMC,” Dr. Azeez said.
GMOA officials said the appointments were illegal as it violated provisions of the Sri Lankan Medical Ordinance which states that the Health Minister could only appoint five members to the SLMC. Therefore the two additional appointments were against the law, they said.
Dr. Azeez said doctors had also not received the Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance promised to government doctors by President Mahinda Rajapaksa four years ago.
“We had requested for a DAT allowance of Rs.70,000 but we did not receive it. Instead we were promised Rs.33,000 but eventually received only Rs.15,000,” he said. Doctors expect the balance amount of the requested allowance as other government professionals in other fields enjoyed these benefits, he said.
“During discussions with President Rajapaksa last week we were asked to meet Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundere on the matter, but we have still not received a word from him,” he said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)