Referring to the GMOA’s remarks that Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne makes influence on functioning of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) and social media dissemination regarding claims about the SLMC, its Chairman Prof. Harendra de Silva said the Minister had not influenced him on any matter in relation to the proper functioning of the activities of the SLMC.
“I was appointed as the President SLMC by Minister Senaratne since January 2019. However, to date Minister Senaratne had not made any influence on me,” he said in a statement. He said it was the members of the council that decide on the functions of the SLMC.
“I wish to emphasize that the primary objective of the SLMC is to safeguard the rights of patients/people. “It is not a secret that the GMOA safeguards the rights and privileges of doctors which is acceptable, but their political affiliations are transparent. Therefore, it is possible that their opinions in the council are influenced by these factors,” Prof. de Silva said.
He proceeded to say that it was mandatory that the minister in charge of an institution, and in this instance the Minister of Health was responsible for all decisions based on statute and any amendments should be recommended by him, through the cabinet to the parliament.
The SLMC ordinance came in to effect in 1927 more than 90 years ago. There have been amendments from time to time. However an overall change in the ordinance is necessary in order to protect the rights of the people/patients and to eliminate as much as possible persons with conflict of interests.
“The proposal to change the ordinance is timely since the ordinance is archaic,” he said.
The cabinet paper was presented for this purpose based on a concept paper developed by a five members committee appointed by the Minister of Health which comprised of the former Attorney General. (Sheain Fernandopulle)