Warns of dire consequences otherwise
By Sandun A Jayasekera
The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) vehemently protesting the alleged new procedure adopted by the ministry of health in respect of internship appointments requests appointments be made on common order of merit alone or face the consequences.
Addressing the media at the GMOA head office Dr. Kremlin Wickramasingha said the health minister had taken an arbitrary decision to do away with the time tested system of appointing medical interns for their one year internship and had appointed graduates of the Jaffna Medical Faculty only to the North East without considering the negative effect on the interns who had topped the list.
?Allocation of internship appointments from all six faculties of medicine is done according to a common merit list which is based on their performance at the standardized final MBBS examination. This system has been in effect since 1971 to ensure that the allocation of appointments is based solely on merit. Any discrimination due to gender, ethnicity, social, political or financial status is thereby prevented. The merit position of the final MBBS examination is also the criteria for future professional activities of a doctor such as appointments, transfers, promotions, higher studies and scholarships. So it is quite obvious that the merit position is very important for a doctor. A deviation from this system can be considered a violation of Fundamental Rights,? Dr.Wickramasingha emphasized.
He warned that there will be dire consequences if the health minister goes ahead with the decision to appoint Jaffna Medical Faculty interns only to hospitals in the North and East.
Responding to questions from journalists as to why Jaffna MBBS graduates are reluctant to serve their own people in the North East when they are in a better position than Sinhala graduates, he said interns can learn an alternative language pretty soon and giving an internship to an MBBS graduate of the Jaffna who is on the top of the merit list to a small rural hospital in the North East is unjust and a violation of Fundamental Rights.
Dr. Wickramasingha alleged that the move was an attempt to politicize the internship appointments.
Dr. Ranjan Dias, Consultant Surgeon said the internship is not a service but a training essential to become a medical professional.
Dr. P. Muralitharan
of the Jaffna Medical Faculty said they could not understand the hasty decision of the health ministry to do away with the merit system.
Dr. Pramod Chandrasingha of the Ragama Teaching Hospital, Dr. Nimali Perera of Sri Jayawardanapura Medical Faculty and Thushan Gunaratna, President, Medical Students Union also expressed their opposition to the new system.
Meanwhile the health care and nutrition ministry in a press communiqué says that the decision to appoint Jaffna MBBS graduates as interns to North East was taken on a recommendation of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health.
The appointments will only be for one year. The recommendation was a sequel to a request made by Parliamentarians Suresh Premachandra and G. Ponnambalam of the TNA saying that there was a severe shortage of doctors in the province.