Sri Lanka’s striking doctor caught accepting patients at private hospital

ECONOMYNEXT – The head of the striking Government Medical Officer Association (GMOA) trader union, Anuruddha Padeniya had granted appointments to at least six patients at a private hospital on Friday during a work stoppage he called across the state medical sector.

Parliament was shown the receipt for an appointment Padeniya, a paediatric neurologist, had given a patient on the night of Thursday the 4th of May 2017 at a time when the trade union he leads had already announced the strike for 24 hours from 8.00 am on Friday.

Government legislator Ranjan Ramanayake obtained the appointment to consult Padeniya just to expose the duplicity of the striking doctors who want a private medical college shut in the name of protecting free health care, but have no qualms in engaging in private practice while in state service.

The receipt issued for Padeniya’s appointment to see parliamentarian Ramanayake, his sixth patient for the day, was shown in parliament causing serious embarrassment to the Joint Opposition which supported the doctors’ trade union action.

After the proverbial hit the ceiling, Nawaloka private hospital telephoned Ramanayake to say that Padeniya had hurriedly cancelled his appointments at their channelling centre.

The drama drew attention to a government decision which had allowed doctors in the state sector to carry on private practice, a privilege that is not granted to any other employees of the government. Not even to state sector teachers.

Friday’s strike and Padeniya’s action has drawn the government’s attention to the wisdom of allowing government doctors to engage in private medical practice while in state service, a senior minister said adding that a radical decision was expected soon.

(COLOMBO, Maqy 5, 2017)

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