The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) today objected to a decision by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) Chief to negotiate the reduction of the pass mark for foreign qualified students to practice medicine in Sri Lanka. The GMOA said the move would bring down the standards of medical treatment in the country.
The Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) pass mark was brought down from 50 per cent to 44.5 per cent on a court order in April last year. Fifty four candidates who had failed the exam in 1999 had filed a fundamental rights petition with one of the demands being that the pass mark be reduced to 40 per cent.
GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said the SLMC had assured it would discuss the matter with parents and decide on a pass mark that was agreeable to all.
While there was no personal animosity towards SLMC Chief Carlo Fonseka, such decisions should be made unanimously by all members of the SLMC.
“If a decision is taken to reduce the pass-mark because a parent had asked for it or due to some external pressure then this is a very serious problem that would have drastic consequences to the people of the country. You cannot reduce the standard of an exam in such manner,” Dr. Padeniya said.
Meanwhile he urged the government to increase the Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance of government doctors from Rs.12,500 to Rs.30,000.
“The allowance was principally agreed upon in 2008 but it has not still been fully made available to us. The allowance is not a privilege but we are asking for it for the purpose of maintaining our sustainability,” he said.
Dr. Padeniya said it was the obligation of the government to provide financial stability to doctors.
“The financial stability of doctors cannot be under estimated and disregarded,” he said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)