Free Outpatient care today at NFTH for distressed public due to GMOA strike

Friday, 5 May 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) in Malabe, which currently operates under the management of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), will open its Out Patient Department (OPD) to the general public, free of charge, on 5 May, in view of the Island wide strike action launched by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA). 

The decision comes in the wake of the recent strike action by the GMOA, which crippled the Healthcare Services of the country, particularly in the OPD units of state hospitals. 

SAITM and NFTH Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando said, “The GMOA strikes are launched against SAITM, supposedly in the interest of the public’s health and wellbeing, which they claim are at risk because SAITM students do not have enough clinical exposure. Regrettably their strikes are taking place at a time when the nation is facing grave health issues and the general public is in need of all healthcare professionals in the country. It’s nothing short of tragic that the GMOA is holding patients at ransom to pursue selfish personal agendas and political schemes.”

Dr. Fernando reiterated that the NFTH was established in 2012 after SAITM MBBS students were refused access to State hospitals for clinical training by the GMOA. “Then too the GMOA threatened strike action and halted SAITM MBBS students from undergoing clinical training at state hospitals, even after these students were officially directed to the Homagama Base Hospital and Thalangama Hospital by the Government.” 

He strongly condemned the GMOA’s rejection of the Government’s stand on SAITM, which aims to standardise medical education in Sri Lanka, subject SATIM students to further clinical training and examinations as per the formalized standards of medical education in Sri Lanka and align the NFTH under the Ministry of Health. 

Operating a non-State medical university such as SAITM will save millions of rupees otherwise spent as outward remittances to overseas medical institutes, provide choice for qualified youth to pursue their education in medicine locally, offer scholarship opportunities for students that lose State university entry by a few points due to the district quota system and importantly fill the dire dearth of doctors in the country. 

Dr. Fernando stated: “SAITM will extend its fullest support to the Government to maintain quality and standards in medical education of Sri Lanka and SAITM will continue to serve the general public of the country regardless of the various obstacles and allegations leveled at the institute by vested parties.”  

In view of the distress the public may face on 5 May, the NFTH will open its OPD services and all NFTH medical practitioners and staff will be at hand for patients in need of treatment.