Deans suggest private medical school graduates must also pass Licensing Examination | Daily News

Deans suggest private medical school graduates must also pass Licensing Examination

Prof Nilanthi de Silva
Prof Nilanthi de Silva

The Deans of eight Medical Faculties have collectively suggested that graduates from all private medical schools in Sri Lanka should be required to pass a licensing examination before they are allowed to practice locally.

The licensing examination will be similar to the examination that foreign medical graduates must pass to be qualified to practice locally.

The Deans of the Medical Faculties of Colombo, Ragama, Karapitiya, Rajarata, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Peradeniya and Sri Jayawardenepura universities came up with this suggestion and several other recommendations in a joint statement submitted to the Higher Education Minister last week. The Deans recommended amending the Sri Lanka Medical Ordinance to make the licensing exam a pre-requisite for awarding provisional registration by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC).The joint statement came in the wake of Court Order on the medical degree holders of SAITM. The statement outlined the implications of the Court Order for standards of medical education in Sri Lanka, and provision of safe healthcare services in the country.

The Deans have also observed that SAITM should be compelled by the Higher Education Ministry to suspend admission of medical students until it obtains the necessary compliance certification from the SLMC.

“We are not asking to close down the SAITM. If the government has taken a policy decision that private medical colleges must be allowed, we have no issue with it. However, the quality assurance is a must, and the criteria for that must be agreed by the SLMC,” University of Kelaniya Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof Nilanthi de Silva said, commenting on the joint statement.

Giving her personal opinion, she said the first batch of medical graduates passed out from SAITM must be given further clinical training before being allowed to practice locally.

“SAITM has a state-of-the-art hospital and experienced teachers, but it does not have enough patients. These students should be allowed to have clinical training in state hospitals,” she said.

The Deans of Faculties in their statement have also proposed that medical graduates from state universities who have been provided with free education, should be compelled to serve the Sri Lankan state health system for some minimum period, whereas graduates from private medical schools need not be compelled to do the same.

They have also highlighted the need to prescribe minimum standards for medical education in all higher education institutions that are empowered to award medical degrees in Sri Lanka. “These regulations must be gazetted by the Minister of Health, and approved by Parliament as soon as possible,” the statement said. The Deans stressed that Degree Awarding Institutes should not be empowered to award medical and other health professional degrees by the Higher Education Ministry, unless such an institute has obtained compliance certification from the relevant professional body. Compliance certification should be subject to renewal at regular periods, e.g. every 5 – 10 years, the statement added.

“The legislation governing professional bodies such as the SLMC, the Sri Lanka Nursing Council and the Ceylon Medical College Council should be amended in order to empower such professional bodies to grant compliance certification to degree awarding institutes,” the statement further added. 

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