The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) yesterday called upon state medical faculty students to return to their academic activities immediately following the government’s decision on October 29, to abolish the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) and establish a nonprofit institution under the Ministry of Higher Education.
SLMA President, Prof. Chandrika Wijayaratne expressed the association’s concern regarding the prevalent situation in respect of the dilemma in medical education and the health service of the country since February this year. She said that the SLMA, as a non political and non trade union apex body representing the profession in Sri Lanka, urged the parents of medical students of all state medical faculties to ensure that their children returned to their academic activities without further delay.
Prof. Wijayaratne urged the academic staff of the state medical faculties and their respective medical teacher trade unions to create, ensure and sustain an environment in which students could commence and continue with their interrupted academic activities without further delay. The University Grants Commission (UGC) should ensure that all categories of staff attached to all medical faculties perform their duties as per UGC and other government rules, regulations and circulars without further delay.
She urged all medical officers to maintain highest standards of professionalism in providing health care to the citizens of Sri Lanka. The government too should ensure that all agreements reached with stakeholders should be carried out without a compromise.
The SLMA has said it is particularly concerned that under existing rules and regulations in the Medical Ordinance and Universities Act the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) has only limited powers to regulate and ensure standards of medical education. Therefore, there is a pressing need to enact legislation to protect the public from unqualified or substandard medical practitioners.
The SLMA says that as the apex medical body representing all grade doctors in the country it is not against properly constructed and regulated medical education. However, the issue of private medical education in the country needs to be further discussed, it has said.