Saturday May 25, 2019

Fear, politics said driving hostility to Sri Lanka private medical college

Feb 07, 2017 19:36 PM GMT+0530 | 6 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT – Opposition to a private medical college in Sri Lanka by students and staff of state universities is driven by politics and fear of competition and loss of state monopoly over higher education, officials of the university said.
Hostility towards the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), a fee-levying college authorised to award degrees, worsened after a recent Appeal Court ruling supporting the registration of its students

The Court of Appeal ruled last week that the Sri Lanka Medical Council, the statutory body that registers doctors, had used double standards and exceeded its powers when denying registration to graduates of SAITM.

It ordered the SLMC to provisionally register a graduate of the college.

SAITM Chief Executive Sameera Senaratne was shot at Monday evening by two men on a motor bike near the campus but he was unhurt.

Deepal Weerasekera, professor and Head of the Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics  of SAITM and its acting vice chancellor, said fears the college would churn out substandard graduates were unfounded. 

“Our clinical training is done by professors of national stature with experience abroad,” he told a news conference.

“We have no intention of putting out substandard clinically trained people because we know the consequences of that.”

He said he believed state university sector graduates, who were protesting against the collage and making allegations of sub standard clinical training, were afraid of the standard of SAITM students.

“We would be happy to have an international panel to assess the training standards not only of SAITM but state universities as well.”

Neville Perera, professor of surgery at SAITM, said academic staff of state universities were scared of the competition from private colleges like SAITM and also feared the loss of monopoly on higher education by the state.

The officials also said opposition political parties were behind the protests against SAITM and were trying to use it to further narrow political agendas.
(COLOMBO, Feb 07, 2017)


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  1. BW February 08, 07:02 AM

    All this talk of patient safety etc is a lot of humbug. The GMOA and SLMC wants a closed club, where they can control the whole system. These people strike at the drop of a hat - what do they care?
    Having said that there is no harm in sitting a common final exam. What is more important however is the quality of teaching and access to patients. It is important that young doctors have treated and talked with a wide variety of patients before they are allowed to treat patients on their own.
    Medicine was not started by the government but by private practitioners and universities in Britain and Europe. It is the British imperialists who started Western medicine here, to help the people, which led to a massive increase in population.
    Even in Sri Lanka anyone can become ayurveda or accupuncture or whatever it is subject to their own rules.In the UK - where this Western medicine is mostly based on - anyone can practise any medicine. However you cannot join the NHS - govt system - and cannot do certain things like sign a death certificate for example unless you are in the medical register of General Medical Council.
    Why can anyone can potentially treat a patient in the Uk - if the patient is willing. It is simply illegal to claim that you are registered.
    This is based on a principle of autonomy - Voluntas aegroti suprema lex - patients have the right to take or refuse any treatment they want.
    Western medicine became widely accepted because of their scientific/logical reasoned approach to finding and advancing treatments but also due to set of ethical/legal principles.
    For example that they should act in the best interest of the patient - Salus aegroti suprema lex.Western medicine ethics were drawn from a mix of Catholic, Jewish and Islamic scholarship and systematized by people like Thomas Percival.
    The SLMC and GMOA are a disgrace to Western medicine. They are just trying to protect their monopoly at the expense of society.

  2. Stephen February 08, 12:42 PM

    They should do a exam to prove their competenceDefinitely they cant just award their degree and say their registered doctors in sri lanka.Cant understand the point about private hospitalsyou should just go to government hospital if you dont like private hospitals.

  3. Gamaya February 07, 11:29 AM

    This is a business that sells a medical degree for money. I do not know whether training provided is sub standard but the students are. These students with their low grades would not be accepted by any reputable medical school. For example in North America, applicants to a medical school must have a Bachelors degree with a very high grades (90 or more). Some schools also require MCAT. In the UK, you need 3As in A Level as the minimum qualification. Some universities require AAA.

  4. MADU February 07, 10:56 AM

    intake of Saitm students(at least some) are sub standard.They got in because they have money /or political connections.They should be selected from the same AL results on the aggregate basis s for state universities.Also if they need to be private then they should find their own private 'clinical experience' as if private medical schools abroad.If those two issues are addressed, I have no objection of private medical schools.Best solution now is ask those who qualified from SAITM to sit the same final exam of a state medical school.

  5. xyz February 07, 10:44 AM

    Why not have the SAITM medical students sit a standardization exam? like the foreign medical students do?That way the general public who can only get local medical services have no fear of the quality they are getting. Politicians probably don't care...since even our health minister opted to getting medical care in SG...

  6. Nana February 07, 08:13 AM

    Frankly I dont understand these protests.Why dont they protest against Private Hospitals first ? They are sub-standard much more than Private Medical Colleges. Lets ask Govt to take over them first and then run as Govt units.Also why dont they ask Degrees of all Foreign Private Medical colleges should be banned in Sri Lanka, because there are so many low quality Medical colleges abroad than SAITM. Also why not they ask to have a independent Exam to test skills of both Govt Medical Students and SAITM, probably a random test?

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