GMOA contests SLMC election to upset Health Minister’s agenda

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) said yesterday its members would contest the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) election today (23) to defeat Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne’s political agenda being advanced through the SLMC.

GMOA Secretary, Dr Haritha Aluthge said it was the only group, capable of defeating the Minister’s sinister moves. The union was ready to prove to the Minister that the GMOA represented a majority of doctors despite the government’s claim to the contrary.

Dr. Aluthge said that Ex-Co members Drs Anuruddha Padeniya, Nalinda Herath, Naveen De Zoysa and union member Dr Harris Pathirage would contest the SLMC election, which would be held today (23) and tomorrow(24) from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.

The GMOA Secretary said his union wished to take up several problems in the medical service besides issues in respect of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM).

Dr. Aluthge said that not only should SAITM be abolished but steps should be taken to ensure that justice was done to the SAITM medical students. The government should take measures to ensure that those students’s problems were solved.

Fielding a question regarding the GMOA’s response to Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Development Dr. Harsha de Silva on the AG’s response to the SAITM solution, Dr Aluthge said his union was seeking legal advice regarding the matter and was prepared to oppose any efforts at compromising minimum standards of medical education or establish a non profit institutions to accommodate SAITM medical undergraduates. He said the students needed a lasting solution and nothing less.

Meanwhile, an independent candidate at today’s SLMC election Dr. Sankalpa Marasinghe said the SLMC was only an opinion giver tasked with upholding the Medical Ordinance, which could only be amended by Parliament. Council members had no authority to change it, he observed.

The powers vested in the SLMC were mainly aimed at safeguarding the public from medical malpractices by ensuring that the standards of the medical services and medical education were maintained, Dr. Marasinghe said. However, the SLMC was under the purview of the Health Minister and those who felt that they were going to flout the Health Minister’s authority by being in the SLMC were only fooling themselves, he said.

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