The Health Ministry yesterday, in a statement, condemned a trade union action taken by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) which jeopardised the well-being of the people.
The statement of the Ministry is as follows.
Members of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) took the lives of the public to ransom once again last week when they launched a token strike across the country, while the government hospitals continue to overflow with patients suffering from various ailments and illnesses.
The action by the doctors was a clear departure from their oath they had taken at the commencement of their careers, known as the Hippocratic Oath. The token strike and what people of this country witnessed during its course was a clear violation of the Hippocratic Oath.
As the GMOA engaged in strike action supposedly to win their rights, it is the public who had to face the brunt of it, being at the mercy of the government doctors. The doctors have the right to win their demands and solutions for the problems in their professions by holding patients to ransom. Their first concern if they act according to the Hippocratic Oath should have been the interests of their patients. Though the GMOA launched a countrywide strike action claiming that the Government and Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had failed to offer them acceptable solutions for their grievances, many suspect that the GMOA actions were a part of a larger campaign to create political instability. While those who can afford private medical care can cope with such a decision taken by the State doctors, it is those who cannot afford private healthcare that are made to suffer.
The GMOA members had cited reasons such as proliferation of substandard drugs for their strike action. If that allegation is true, then they should forward the matter to the pharmacologists and other doctors of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) – the body responsible for the standard of imported drugs. Instead of that, they are engaged in a campaign against incumbent Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. They are capitalising on their right to launch a strike. It is a nuisance on one hand and secondly, caters to the private agendas of office bearers of the GMOA. There is no doubt that they are working on a political agenda.
GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge threatened that they would resort to a severe trade union action within the next two weeks. Just because the GMOA has the right to launch a strike, that does not mean that they can go for repeated strike actions. GMOA strikes are inhumane, illegal and just disgusting. They are breaching the fundamental rights of patients. Access to health is a universally accepted right of all people.