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SLMA calls for SLMC reform to improve doctor accountability


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  • SLMA offers to host forum to discuss reforms to provide justice to patients  
  • Calls for Council membership to include non-medical professionals 
  • Wants self-regulation protected, but says professional bodies should stand for public interest

The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) yesterday called for reforms within the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), to allow non-medical professionals to be included to protect patients from malpractices, but retain the self-regulatory mechanism already established for the medical profession.   

The SLMC has come under fire for its process in responding to patient complaints. Despite large numbers of complaints being made to the SLMC, little action is taken to hold doctors accountable for their mistakes by the council members of the SLMC. In other countries, non-medical professionals are appointed to medical councils to ensure transparency and effectiveness.     

“SLMA identifies that the Ordinance and the Council, which is established to protect the public and regulate academic, professional and ethical standards of healthcare professionals, needs to step away from its exclusivity of medical practitioners in its membership, to avoid medical malpractices and injustice towards civilians that have experienced negligence,” the SLMA said in a statement. 

In the context of self-regulation, the association stands its ground that regulatory professional bodies should be in the interest of the general public, and not in the interest of professionals, and states that the Council needs to revise its membership structure to safeguard innocent civilians.

The SLMA also called for measures to be taken to revise the composition of the SLMC to protect the public against unprofessional doctors, while preserving self-regulation and efficiency of professionals in the healthcare system. They also proposed the setting up of a committee to identify issues pertaining to the Medical Ordinance (Chapter 105), which currently only allows doctors to be members of the SLMC and therefore reduces accountability to patients.  

“SLMA therefore recommends that the Medical Ordinance (Chapter 105) to be reviewed under a committee inclusive of stakeholders to provide solutions for issues identified in consideration to the Ordinance, in order to ensure continuity of the tasks of the Council providing academic, professional, and ethical leadership to the medical, dental, and other healthcare professionals. The association is willing to hold a facilitator forum for the proposed committee,” the association said in a statement.  The association noted that the current situation of the SLMC is not due to an isolated situation, but rather the accumulation of a series of events that transpired over a period of time, based on the interpretation and implementation of the Medical Ordinance (Chapter 105). 


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