In order to provide a better health service to people, the Health care and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has focused special attention on strengthening and upgrading the activities in the Supervision and Flying Squad Unit (SFSU) of the Health Department to crackdown on doctors indulging in private channelling during office hours.
The decision was taken following numerous complaints received by the higher Health Department authorities from the general public on certain doctors continuously engaged in private practices during office hours.
In an interview with the Sunday Observer, Minister Nimal Siripal de Silva said it was pathetic to see that certain doctors still do not respect the Government warning made in this regard and continuously engaged in private channelling, causing hardship to a large number of innocent patients coming to seek medical assistance from state owned hospitals.
He said that he would take strict action and forthwith laid a strong net to overcome such occurrences.
When contacted, a senior official attached to the SFSU said that not only doctors but laboratory technicians were also caught redhanded being employed in private medical institutions during office hours.
The senior official who wishes to remain anonymous said that following sudden raids carried out by the SFSU during the past four months in the districts of Galle, Matara, Kandy, Badulla and Gampaha 39 such doctors and technicians were caught.
`Among them there was a specialist doctor, fourteen medical officers, five registered medical practitioners, three dental doctors, laboratory technicians and also seven minor employees,` he said.
He also said that during the raids they have found that some private channelling places are located in very close proximity to the respective hospital and these doctors are in the habit of spending little time at the channelling places as well as their hospitals.