Major irregularities at Health Ministry, alleges GMOF | Daily News

Major irregularities at Health Ministry, alleges GMOF

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) has obtained Rs. 40 million from the Health Ministry to conduct a two day workshop ‘Good Intern programme’ for medical interns, but also charging Rs.1500 from these interns for this programme too.

This is big irregularity that needs to be investigated and an audit needs to be carried out, said the President of the Government Medical Officers Forum (GMOF) Dr. Rukshan Bellana.

He alleged that there are major irregularities taking place in the Health Ministry, pointing out that at a time when the country is facing a Coronavirus threat, the Health Ministry has so far failed to appoint a new Health Services Director General to the post which fell vacant after Dr.Anil Jasinghe was transferred.

Dr. Bellana said that the post of Health Services Director General is a Cabinet approved appointment who has the authority to implement various acts and ordinances and take firm decisions relevant to the Health Ministry. “There are over 100 acts under the Health Ministry and the Health Services DG is the competent authority on implementing these regulations. But, despite not having legal rights, the Health Ministry Secretary is calling the shots which is in total violation to the laws.”

Addressing a media briefing at the Abayaramaya Temple yesterday, Dr. Bellana said that the doctors who played a big role during the coronavirus pandemic earlier have suddenly been transferred since two weeks ago on the grounds that this is the transfer week. “But, there is a proper procedure that is practiced and transfers are generally carried out at the start of the year. But, suddenly a Circular was issued a week ago that certain doctors are transferred. These are punishment transfers and not in accordance with the Establishments Code. Today the health authorities are at the mercy of this certain medical union who is calling the shots. Dr. Anil Jasinghe who was the previous Health Services Director General was suddenly transferred as the Secretary to the Environment Ministry. We have suspicions whether this is a punishment transfer, made to look like a promotion. Then an Army officer was appointed and we thought he would bring discipline into the Health Ministry and stop these unions from dictating terms and holding the lives of the public to ransom. To our utter dismay, we find that he is more under the grip of these unions even worse than the civil secretaries,” he added.

Meanwhile, joining the media briefing the Chief Incumbent of the Abhayarama temple Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera expressed disgruntlement over the current situation in the country and the arbitrary manner certain transfers are being carried out. The Thero said one might wonder why he was speaking on behalf of doctors when there was a separate body (the GMOA) that should be raising issues related to the medical field. “However, it is very sad to see how the Health Department is currently acting with regard to these unions. They are siding with those who are loyal to them and who agree and bow down to everything they say and do. The reason the GMOF was created because these doctors had no other alternative and no body to raise issues affecting them.”

He noted that Dr. Bellana was suspended from duties as he had got on a political stage and supported Mahinda Rajapaksa to come to power.

“He was penalized for speaking against former President Maithripala Sirisena. Yet, even after the current government came to power, they have not taken note of the sacrifice he made. Today Dr. Bellana is being penalized again and after he had served as the Director of the Health Department, today he has been placed as the second in command at the Kalubowila Hospital. Therefore, I urge Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi even if she keeps the GMOA on her head, she needs to understand the reality of things. I urge Minister Wanniarachchi to serve all unions equally and not to act partially towards only one party,” Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera said, warning that if their concerns are ignored, they would take the matter to the ILO if required.

The Thera said that today the COVID-19 operations have been handed over to the Army Commander and the Health Ministry has been silenced. “During the previous COVID-19 operations, there was Health Ministry representation and involvement, but today that voice has been silenced. At the start our country handled the Covid situation very efficiently due to the involvement and efforts of all concerned. Yet, the same cannot be said for the second wave. The Army Commander alone cannot handle this situation efficiently and there must be an authority from the Health Ministry too. Today there is no Director General of the Health Ministry and the Health Ministry is in disarray and in a pathetic state. Hence, it is questionable as to who was behind the transferring of these officers.”

“Mr. President we urge you to look into this situation and bring it under control without allowing our country to suffer similar to other countries.”

Measures have been taken to amend the constitution of the Government Medical Officers Forum to include Ven. Meruttetuwe Ananda thera as its President.

Meanwhile, referring to the transfer of MRI Director Dr Jayaruwan Bandara, Dr. Bellana said that at a time when there is a rapid spread of the coronavirus it is puzzling why he was transferred. He insinuated that there is a sinister plan to target those who have worked or are close to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.