Docs strike in Polonnaruwa today

By Dilanthi Jayamanne


Government Medical Offices’ Association (GMOA) yesterday warned that hospitals in the Polonnaruwa District would strike today (21) demanding the immediate reversion of a transfer order given to a doctor to the Hingurakgoda MOH office.

GMOA Secretary Dr Naveen D. Zoysa alleged that the Health Ministry had issued the temporary special transfer from Gampha without approval from the Transfer Board. Subsequently however the Health Secretary agreed to reverse the order, while the Health Ministry issued instructions canceling it.

Dr Zoysa accused the Regional Director Health Services (RDHS) and his officials of ignoring the Ministry’s instructions based on his personal acquaintance with the said doctor. He said that all the GMOA branch unions in Polonnaruwa had warned relevant officials that they would strike today (21) in the District if action was not taken to implement the Health Ministry instructions without delay. Doctors of the Polonnaruwa General Hospital, Medirigiriya Base Hospital and all health institutions would strike from 8 am.

However the RDHS, Dr S. Jayasinghe when contacted said he was faced with a dilemma and would have to request for further instructions from the Health Secretary. The transfer had been given as a result of an appeal made by the particular doctor who was temporarily appointed to the MOH Office Hingurakgoda. He said that although he had received instructions from the Ministry, he was unable to release the particular doctor until there was a replacement.

Meanwhile the Health Ministry published its transfer list yesterday and accordingly the said doctor had been appointed to Hingurakgoda, he said.

Dr Jayasinghe said he was in a quandary as there were three letters of instructions from the Health Ministry regarding the particular doctor including one from the Director General Health Services (DGHS). He said he would appeal to the Health Secretary for advice on the matter.

Responding to a question regarding the planned strike, the RDHS said the strike would affect routine services of the health institutions including clinics. However as a responsible trade union, the GMOA should reconsider the situation without taking hasty decisions, he said.

The Health Ministry when contacted said that the transfer was carried out in accordance with the Public Service Commission (PSC) approval with the concurrence of the GMOA. However it was apparent that the union and its transfer board was going back on its word now, Health Ministry sources said.

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