The Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) condemns the Health minister and certain Health ministry officials for their unprecedented and unacceptable actions towards the medical officers and medical specialists in the recent past.
The AMS says that they understand that certain high officials from the Ministry of health have written to the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) instructing the SLMC to cancel the registration of medical practitioners who have already been served “vacation of post” by the Ministry of Health.
The medical specialists claim that the Ministry of Health have over stepped their authority and engaged in an unfair and illegal act, most probably to harass a particular group of doctors.
" Vacation of posts by medical practitioners happened many times in the past and in none of these occasions’ health ministry has requested the SLMC to cancel the registration of such doctors. As there was no change of regulations pertaining to the “professional misconduct” of the medical practitioners recently, this deplorable action by certain health ministry officials amounts to pure harassment of this group of doctors,"
"AMS also observed that the above action was initiated only for selective group of doctors and not for all doctors who vacated their posts,"
"AMS strongly believe that vacation of post is only a disturbance of employer - employee relationship and this certainly cannot be labeled as professional misconduct, according to the SLMC regulations pertaining to professional misconduct which is on par with international norms. Therefore, it is certainly not an act amounting to cancellation of medical registration,"
"There are many other professionals other than medical practitioners who have vacated their posts and no other ministry has requested to cancel their respective licenses to practice from the relevant regulators.
"SLMC is an independent body governed by internationally recognized regulations with regards to disciplinary matters. Hence, no one can “instruct” the SLMC to cancel the registration of a medical practitioner as this procedure involves proper complaint in the form of an affidavit, a duly conducted inquiry by the professional conduct committee of SLMC and final ratification by the SLMC"
"The AMS action these actions can adversely affect the overseas post graduate training of Sri Lankan doctors, especially in a situation where the large number of medical post graduates secure paid training jobs overseas without burdening the government funds,"
They also pointed that these trainees brought valuable foreign currency they earned abroad when they returned to Sri Lanka .
The medical specialists says that they are fully aware and in full agreement that any government officer who has not reported to duty without approved leave should be served vacation of post subject to the provision of the establishment code and if an officer with a financial bond vacated his post, appropriate action should be taken to recover such a bond.
However, any other high-handed, arbitrary actions not within the existing regulations and not practiced in the past cannot be applied selectively only to medical practitioners.
AMS request the officials of the ministry of health to withdraw such letters immediately and to abstain from harassing medical practitioners, especially at a time our health sector is experiencing unprecedented hardships.
To cut a long story short, the action complained of is simply ultra vires the powers exercised bythe relevant authority which which require only an action in court to have the order quashed. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has Public Interest/Legal Aid Centre that will do this for and on behalf of the affected Specialists.