Written by Staff Writer
30 Nov, 2016 | 9:44 pm
The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) launched a countrywide strike action on Wednesday, November 30. The strike was held in protest against several proposals made in the 2017 budget.
The strike action severely inconvenienced patients at government hospitals.
The GMOA warned today that failure to provide a solution, would result in a continuous strike action.
Several patients who had lined up at the National Hospital in Colombo since dawn to obtain medication, had to turn back empty handed.
Activities of several units including outpatient treatment at the hospital were hampered due to the 24-hour token strike action which commenced at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
While emergency services were in effect at the National Hospital and other government hospitals, doctors at several other hospitals including the National Cancer Institute took a stand not to take part in the strike action.
Doctors at the Kandy General Hospital which functions as the main hospital for the Central Province, refrained from outpatients treatment and clinical services.
The strike action was also prevalent at the Dickoya Hospital which is frequently visited by patients from estate communities.
Though treatment for kidney patients was unhindered at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital today, services at daily clinic and outpatients treatment had come to a standstill.
Secretary of GMOA Dr. Navin de Zoysa said that the Executive Committee will reconvene on Thursday and review the trade union action. He added that thereafter a decision will be made on what steps need to be taken to express protest.
He also said that there is a risk that a massive trade union campaign will affect the country – from the medical sector as well as other sectors – and they will continue their campaign till they win the rights of the patients.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne added that this is the first time that doctors are engaging in a strike in relations to budget proposals – and even without any discussions.
Politburo Member of the Front-line Socialist Party Pubudu Jagoda added that they have several questions for the government.
” Is the decision taken to privatise education correct? Is it correct to abolish free health and bring in a health insurance scheme ? Is it correct to impose never ending taxes on the people? Slashing pensions, changing labour laws and robbing the EPF, are these correct? If these are wrong then the people have a right to protest. Before the government criticises this or analyses this they should review the budget that they have presented …”,said Politburo Member of the Front-line Socialist Party Pubudu Jagoda.
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