Picture courtesy NewsFirst

“To develop a graduate who will contribute to fulfil the health requirements of the individual and of the community with competence, compassion and care”

Mission statement – Handbook (2014) for Students of Colombo Medical Faculty

I respect the medical profession when it respects the “Oath of Hippocrates“. I will respect them if they stand for patients’ rights. I would have respected them if they stood up for much needed reform in this country; independent commissions, electoral reforms and at least for the Right To Information Bill (RTI). But they have not and they don’t. They have not stood for the people and will not. Not even with other professions and members of the health sector. Not even with the patients, in the interests of petty gains for themselves.

Yet this is not about the medical profession. This is about the men who run the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA). They now demand duty free vehicle permits and threaten to strike if they are not granted them.

Why should they be given duty free vehicles at the expense of the tax payer?

 A medical doctor, having completed his or her 05 year medical degree at very heavy expense to the people which is no small sum as for any other degree, begins his or her career in a government hospital with an estimated “take home salary” of over Rs.115,000 per month. The gross take home first salary includes a Rs.26,160 basic salary lavishly topped up with Rs.61,840 pensionable and non pensionable allowances “plus” another allowance of Rs.4,000 for the telephone. Added are 120 hours of overtime and 03 payments of 20% of the pensionable salary for work during public holidays and weekends.

In contrast, a graduate teacher is paid only Rs.15,540 (on service minutes gazetted on 23 October, 2014) plus allowances (includes the Rs.10,000 added this year) that constitute a total monthly salary of Rs.33,340 which is even less than the Disturbance & Travelling (DAT) allowance of Rs.35,000 given to a medical doctor. Teachers are not eligible for any extra payment for their work after school hours and weekend work. They are not even paid an allowance for stationery , which they have to buy out of their personal pocket. The teaching profession is not considered worth a “duty free vehicle”.

One may say the difference is in the duration of the degree and that their general degree is not meant for a professional job. Let me say very briefly that every single medical doctor is a product of 13 years work by these teachers educating in schools. That work and the responsibility it carries cannot be simply written off and they too deserve as much in terms of salaries, if we are serious about improving the quality of teaching and building a respected teaching profession.

Of the larger population of the medical doctors who have not obtained a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and are known as “general practitioners”, a rare few remain as “noble” men in the profession and are not ethically and morally represented by the GMOA. All others often earn much more than their take home pay, from what they call “PP” (Private Practise). Again allowing for a few who are actual doctors, most “Specialists” in government service spend more time in private channel services and easily earn Rs.1,000 per patient net, for a minimum of 25 patients for 24 days in a month, amounting to Rs.600,000 unaudited and mostly nontaxed income over and above their sumptuously large monthly salary.

Why should the GMOA ask for more at the expense of the people when they are not even talking of improving the health service? In fact it is the GMOA that should be held responsible for most ills and vices in the health sector. They virtually control the entire health service including the provincial administration. The General Secretary of the GMOA had told media (DN – 02 Dec, 2015) that they have in the past been meeting all Ministers in charge of Health on a monthly basis and additionally anytime they felt there was a need for it. They have thus established a system in the health sector over the years that allows only medical doctors to hold top administrative posts in the Health Ministry and in the provinces.

According to the last “Medical Service Minutes of the Health Service” gazetted on 11 October, 2014 there are 298 such posts in the health sector that includes top decision makers who should be held responsible for everything from drugs to dressings and administration that impacts on every citizen’s health. These posts are almost totally manipulated by the GMOA. If one thinks it is the government or the health minister who should be held responsible for drug shortages and mismanagement in rural hospitals, one is taking the easy way out in finding scapegoats. It is the top administrators in the health sector who are all medical doctors [All medical officers with valid full registration of Sri Lanka Medical Council for practicing as a Medical Officer are eligible for recruitment (for these administrative positions) as said in 7.2 (a)2 of the service minutes] with responsibility to decide and implement, and in tow with the GMOA who are responsible for all blunders in the health sector.

That responsibility and duty is quite clear in what the “Medical Service Minutes” says about assignments. “Officers who belong to the Medical Service of Sri Lanka Health Service which is an all island service and governed by this Service Minute should engage themselves in the service under the Ministry of Health; General Administration (Ministry of Health, Decentralized Units), patient care services (Curative Services) and Public Health Services (Preventive Services). These officers are responsible for patient care management and provision of health care services…..”(emphasis added)

The GMOA has also proved they are unbelievably selfish and would resort to any dirty method in establishing their total authority over every single function in the health sector. During the past decade at least, the GMOA leadership has been acting as a “mafia” threatening any proposal, any decision they feel don’t add more to them and would give other services and trades in the health service anything better. That at the expense of innocent lives they wouldn’t care holding as hostage. The GMOA uses trade union action for their benefit, but violates all norms of trade union activism opposing every demand put forward by other health sector unions. They were against nurses, against paramedics asking for salary revisions or increases and service promotions. They even opposed a 04 year degree on allied health studies designed by the Peradeniya University for paramedics. The GMOA used big money to challenge the right of paramedics to read for a 04 year degree in the Courts, going all the way up to Supreme Court level. They were later accused of threatening and using “thuggery” to stop clinical training of paramedic undergraduates that had to be in teaching hospitals.

Even “charge sheets” served by the Public Service Commission (PSC) it is said, prove the GMOA has turned a noble profession dirty. Most charge sheets are on personal clashes over individual interests say hospital sources. That’s how selfish this profession is. It is now craving for more and more money and privileges, which the GMOA promises is within their capability in everything they do.

We therefore come back to the question, “why give them duty free permits every 05 years?” That is no employee right. This was started in 1991 as a privileged offer to keep administrators and professionals silent when permits were given to MPs. Since then there have been over a dozen amendments to this offer making it more and more easy, for profiteering. It has now led to open corruption. It is now necessary to scrap the whole scheme of providing such privilege to any and all. “Duty free” in simple terms means that legitimate income that needs to go to the consolidated fund for public use is effectively denied. This scheme thus denies the citizens of this country of billions of rupees. If on an estimate, there are 12,000 medical doctors and Specialists eligible for duty free vehicle permits and at an average the duty free concession is around Rs.2.5 million per vehicle imported, the revenue loss for the people of this country would amount to a colossal sum of Rs.30,000 million.

How can the GMOA demand duty free vehicle permits, leaving patients’ lives at risk while holding the Hippocrates Oath in hand? It is time the society says a loud and firm “NO” to the GMOA from holding human lives hostage to gain their greedy demands. They’ve already been allowed too much.

  • Prasanna Rodrigo

    This article contains too many inaccuracies. I do not have time to correct them all.
    Let me correct a few of the most damaging lies.
    A medical practitioner does not earn 115000 upon completion of the medical degree. They first do an internship where they literally work 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a full year for a pittance. I do not know what this is now, but when we were interns, it amounted to 12 rupees an hour! They then become preliminary grade medical officers and within three years, have to fulfill many requirements including efficiency bar examination before they become a grade II medical officer. Again, all do not get paid overtime. Many doctors work shifts in ICU, OPD and Emergency units, Blood bank, Pathology where they are not eligible for overtime. The non pensionable allowances include a disturbance allowance etc.. which are because they are on call and are only paid for 4 hours of overtime a day even though they may be working the full 24 hours. Not all doctors work 24 hour days, but many work at least 16 hours in hospital on days that they are on call. The DAT only partially covers this. Very few get 120 hours of overtime. That is usually for work done and is signed off by the consultant and the DMO. To get 120 hours of overtime and 3 Public holiday payments, they would be rostered to work 30 days a month – the writer seem to acknowledge this even in your ignorance. This is payment for services rendered. How fair is it for a doctor to be rostered to work like this and what right do you have to demand that a doctor sacrifices his personal life for this profession? Which other profession works like this? The country is 25000 doctors short! Does this writer suggest to give doctors an 8 hour work schedule for 20 days a month and a fair salary. May be the writer would like to pitch in to cover the rest of the duties.
    A grade II medical practitioner is an executive grade officer in the public service. They are initially on par with a deputy director in a ministry. This entitles them to a car, a driver and petrol – just like all of the other deputy directors. The government cannot afford this and as an alternative, they are given this duty free permit. This is still not as good as the former option as there is a significant amount of tax and other duties paid to get a car down. A doctor cannot afford this on his basic salary – hence most are bought on heavy loans. These loans must be repaid with interest, forcing the doctor into private practice. It is no longer feasible for a medical practitioner being the sole breadwinner in a family to repay a loan for a duty free car on his salary alone – so he is trapped into private practice at the expense of his family. A government allocated car with a driver (as entitled) is a far better option – maybe the writer would be happier with this. Then there would be 15000 more vacancies for drivers too!
    Also remember that the basic salary is the only consideration in determining a pension. Thus when a doctor retires, he becomes a pauper!
    I am not going to compare a teacher’s salary to a doctor’s. This is obvious and the writer must be blinded by jealousy to do so. Just to say that this is the trend everywhere in the world. Teachers usually make less than 1/5 of a doctor’s income in the western world. The writer argues that all doctors are products of the teachers and hence should be paid a salary higher than a doctor. If the same goes for parents, may be parents on pension should be paid even more! This is a ludicrous argument. I have no issues with a teacher getting a higher salary than they get now, but these arguments are ridiculous.
    The GMOA is a trade union – and it is only expected to fight for the rights of their profession. It is not their duty to fight against every injustice in the country / world. Doctors (who are public servants) cannot engage in political activity or criticize the actions of the government according to the law. The writer seems blissfully unaware of this. It is the duty of civil action groups and civil leaders to fight injustice. The writer should join such a group.
    Less than 50% of government doctors engage in private practice and can only engage in it outside working hours. This is the time to be with family and engage in recreational activities. Unfortunately, doctors are forced into private practice due to their economic problems. Many doctors desist from private practice as they value their family life more. Private practice cares for over 50% of outpatients. If private practice was to cease, the government hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients. We are 25000 doctors short in Sri Lanka and you should be able to imagine the repercussions of this if private practice ceased. 25 patients at 1000/- each for 24 days a month is a luxury for a specialist. This is true for a few specialists in the cities. Most struggle to see 10 patients. Even then, 25 patients (if treated properly) need at least 5 hours of consultation. Imagine coming to work at 0800 and going home at 10pm every day for the rest of your life!
    Our health service is the best in the developing world. Our health statistics are comparable to western countries if we ignore Nuwara Eliya. This is with a fraction of the cost per patient compared to the western countries. The writer (and all Sri Lankans) should be proud of this. We are nowhere close in any other field. Though it is a collective effort, this is because only the cream of the students get into medicine. This is the top 1% of the students. You cannot expect to attract the most brilliant 1% of students into a field if you are not prepared to treat them accordingly. In the rest of the world, doctor’s salaries fall within the top 1% of annual earnings. Can the writer imagine what it is in Sri Lanka even with the car permit? The medical administration is better than those of all other Sri Lankan ministries. (It is not perfect – not by a long shot). However there is still room for improvement. Considering that our administrative grade is currently made up from the bottom rung of the population in terms of school performance, replacing these medical admin positions with promoted clerks or others in the administrative grade will only worsen matters. Currently there is a push for these positions to be filled by doctors who have postgraduate qualifications in medical administration will ensure even better results in the future.
    The car permit is not a loss to national revenue. The number of cars imported actually is driven by the lure of opportunity. The permits are not ‘duty free’. The doctors still pay over a million rupees for most cars and go into several millions for SUVs. Thus there is a significant income to the government coffers due to these permits. If the writer assumes that the government is going to get an extra Rs. 30,000 million from duty once these permits are cancelled – he/she is living in dreamland.
    By articles such as these, the writer causes disenchantment among the medical profession and cause a larger threat to the public welfare. Whilst this writer may be able to travel overseas for his / her health care needs, the poor patient is reliant of a vibrant and strong public health sector which can only be guaranteed by improving the welfare of the health care professionals. Needless to emphasize that there are many lucrative opportunities overseas for medical practitioners which guarantee a 0800 to 1700 job, a salary in the top one percent of annual incomes and ample free time with the family. There are many who have taken this opportunity and the writer risks pushing many more. Ultimately, the best doctors will be overseas, the best students will seek other fields and you would have mediocre doctors manning the government hospitals – and by that time it will be too late.

    • Kusal Perera

      Glad a medical doctor had stepped into “correct” me. Unfortunately for Dr.Rodrigo, he’s taken a badly mutilated case to be defended. I’m pretty sure,he’s far out dated with time for he is comparing a world where an “Intern” was paid Rs.12 per hour. So let’s get to basics in a society where social values, ethics and morals have been thrown out of the window by the most noblest of all professions.

      Dr.Rodrigo has misread me from the start. I am not talking of “Interns”.Interns are not medical doctors. I am talking of a medical doctor’s first year “gross take home pay”. I have given the breakdown. It is easy to calculate. Add to the basic salary of 26,160, the allowances (both pensionable and non
      pensionable) amounting to 61,840 and that comes to Rs.88,000. Then add the telephone allowance of Rs.4,000 and that makes a total of Rs.92,000 only. Now, is the good Dr. telling me, these medics don’t earn Rs.23,000 more from their 120 hour over time and 20% payments to make an estimated Rs.115,000 take home pay ?

      It certainly is more, although there are Drs, as I have accepted who are ethical and humane. Yet they too earn close to that which is their due. It is also a fact that, Drs spend time they are required to be on call to earn an extra private income through PP. He is asking how fair is it to “demand that a doctor sacrifices his personal life for this profession?” Well, the medical doctors are compensated heavily for
      this. So, how fair is it to demand teachers to spend their personal life after school hours, during weekends and on public holidays taking children to numerous events and activities that have nothing to do with education without any compensation or payment? There needs to be some rational in how public servants are treated.

      My comparison with a graduate teacher’s salary therefore was to show how the GMOA had over decades used their authority over human life to enrich medical doctors very selfishly while another noble profession, the teaching profession is left on the way side. The teaching profession needs much more attention than is given by any government to date and I hope Dr.Rodrigo would not ridicule that
      need.

      I have also done a calculation on how much a Specialist Dr. earns and often without declaration for taxing, which Dr. Rodrigo has not talked about. There again I do accept all are not crazy over money. What is disputed is not what the medical doctors are legitimately paid. What is challenged is the role of
      the GMOA that I continue to call a “MAFIA”. It’s the GMOA I accuse of ruining a noble profession. GMOA leadership has completely ruined a profession that during Dr. Rodrigo’s time was a noble profession and respected and lived true to the Hippocrates Oath. But not anymore, as the GMOA drives them to hold patients hostage to win more and more selfish demands and has driven the profession into a “Shylock” business.

      Most unfortunately with his long harangue Dr.Rodrigo is trying to justify the GMOA decision to strike for the demand for “duty free vehicle permits” that is an extremely corrupt scheme by now that denies the public of billions of revenue and should be scrapped altogether. In his effort to justify this strike for a duty free vehicle permit for medics, Dr.Rodrigo is meandering into areas that he should not have touched upon. The argument brought forth by Dr.Rodrigo that the government cannot afford a vehicle with a driver and petrol to medical officers afforded to deputy directors in the ministry and therefore they qualify to have duty free vehicles is just stupid, to say the least. IF the government cannot afford that which I believe is nonsense, then how can the government forgo billions of rupees of income on duty that should be used for public good?

      If the GMOA is to function as a trade union, the fundamental norm is “solidarity” with other trade unions in their campaigns for rights, which Dr.Rodrigo seems to know little of. The GMOA has been acting as the most destructive association in the health sector in the recent past. Their decisions against other health sector unions have ruined the team work which is a basic need in a hospital. It is not just medical doctors who are all important in a hospital ward. Medical doctors have to work as team leaders with nurses, para medics and even attendants and labourers in a hospital in caring for patients. This team spirit has been completely wiped off by the GMOA that went against all other hospital staff and have made enemies out of team mates.

      I mentioned as one example a very recent conflict the GMOA created in the health sector when they went all out in denying the para medics gaining better qualifications for them in reading for the Allied health degree. They used everything from big money to health ministry manipulations to thuggery in denying the Allied health study degree being accepted as a 04 year degree. Where on earth does a decent trade union work day and night to deny the rights of another trade in their own sector?

      Sorry, I have to say this. Medical doctors have lost the decency they should have and the GMOA is responsible in creating a very selfish, an extremely money crazy set of doctors who would not hesitate in holding patients as hostage in getting a vehicle duty free every 05 years. GMOA does not think a human life is worth their duty free vehicle. It’s not only people who should say enough is enough.
      Even medical doctors with respect and medical doctors who wish to be ethical in their profession who should tell the GMOA they don’t such an association for medical doctors

      Pity this land where medical doctors act as “butchers” in competitive, selfish trade.

      Kusal Perera

      • Prasanna Rodrigo

        Its good that its the weekend and I have time to reply to these comments.

        Please let me clarify. I am one of the selfish ones (who after engaging in
        slave labour for 10 years as a intern, medical officer, registrar, senior
        registrar and as a consultant for one year) who has migrated. I have resigned
        from the health ministry though I am still registered in the SLMC as a
        specialist physician. You will be able to verify this and also my current role
        if you searched online. I therefore am not a GMOA member and have no profit
        from a permit, salary hike, driver or a car. [edited] I worry about the harm that these
        articles cause. I will not respond to
        any more of your comments [edited]. I wished
        to correct the misconceptions that you tried to paint by your letter as it was
        shared on a facebook page by a friend.

        I think that an intern is paid about 25000 per month currently. This comes
        to about Rs 40 per hour now – certainly a great reward for the training they
        have to undergo to get there and the service that they perform 24 X 7 for a
        full year.

        Interns are medical doctors! (they are called intern medical officers and
        receive registration from the Sri Lanka Medical Council before commencement of
        internship) I wonder where you came up with your definition of intern. The
        mistake is in your definition of a medical doctor and not with my
        interpretation. Please do not use a term if you do not understand its
        definition. You will make others as confused as you are. For a post intern
        medical officer, there is a limit of 4 hours per day for overtime and that is
        only for time spent in the ward. This is the maximum that they can claim even
        if they were in the ward with a sick patient for the whole night, or in labour
        room or theatre or accompanying a patient who is being transferred. They get
        nothing for the other 16 hours that they can potentially be working. When I
        worked, we also had to put the BHT numbers of the patients that we saw and the
        consultant had to sign off and then the DMO. This is usually during days that they are on
        call overnight. So you are looking at a doctor needing to be on call overnight
        for every day of the month and grudging them the 1000 rupees per day that they
        get for this. No doctor does overtime for the money. You can earn more being a
        barber! I do not see you feeling sorry for the poor fellow who has to work this
        roster. How unfair do you think it is for this doctor to be on call for 30 days
        a month! Would you do this? [edited]

        However, being on call 30 days a month is very unusual and reflects a
        serious issue with staffing. Doctors working in OPD, emergency units, accident
        wards, ICUs, blood bank, Lab and administrative appointments (such as DMO and
        RDHS) do not get paid overtime – so your claims are unjustified. [edited]

        Also try to understand that the pension is based on the basic salary and that at
        the time of retirement, all of the non pensionable allowances, overtime and
        telephone allowances disappear and the doctor becomes a pauper on retirement if
        he relied purely on his salary. This might make you happy, but policy decisions
        should not be made with jealousy.

        I have no issues with your demands for teachers to have a higher salary than
        they get now. I have the utmost respect for them. However, have you considered
        that teachers work less than 180 days per year and that also from 0730 till
        1330. They have no regular on calls duties. By your same argument, one could
        argue that teachers do tuition and that some earn more than doctors purely by tuition
        and that they do not pay tax! Teachers are not regularly demanded to work on
        weekends or after school and are certainly never on call! I wonder whether you
        are referring to another country. The service they render after school and on
        weekends is voluntary and they earn the gratitude of their students. It is not
        their duty. May be they too should claim overtime – if it is allowed. For
        doctors, it is their duty to work and be on call after hours – they have no
        discretion. You are dreaming if you
        think that doctors are ‘heavily’ compensated for this. The friends that we went
        to school with – the ones that did not do medicine and who went to other fields
        are doing much better than the current Sri Lankan doctors. You are looking at a
        minority of the doctors who are doing remarkably well and generalizing. Do you
        even know that a majority of doctors do not engage in private practice and that
        many are burdened by loans that they struggle to pay off? What about the
        doctors whom you ‘respect’ and work hard and do not do private practice? Should
        they not be entitled to a fair salary? You only see what you want to see – do some meditation and then some research. May be you
        would see differently then.

        A teacher’s salary was never on par with a doctor’s salary. It is also not
        on par in any other part of the world (maybe other than communist countries and wWe are not discussing the benefits of communism here). A doctor is an executive
        grade public servant and their remuneration is far less than their non medical
        counterparts. However you choose to compare a teacher’s salary with an
        executive grade officer. I hope that you apply the same standards to a deputy
        director of a ministry and agitate against their salaries too. The problem is
        that since there are many doctors, you believe that they are the bottom of the hierarchy
        and you try to find similarities between teachers and doctors. Once you realize
        where a doctor stands in the public service, you will realize how under
        remunerated they are.

        A doctor is charged tax for his professional income (at a rate much lesser
        than PAYE). Think about it… Rs 1000/- is only 10 AUD – and think of the
        responsibility that a consultation should carry (I have concerns about the
        responsibility that is actually taken – but we are talking ideals here) If a
        doctor is taxed higher than what he pays now, this will be incorporated into
        the channeling fee – the patient will indirectly end up paying the government.
        This is what happens with every professional fee (lawyers, accountants,
        architects, engineers), and that is why professional fees are taxed at a lower
        rate. Please understand that where a person has to pay income tax, their
        salaries are decided taking the income tax into consideration. It is not very
        clever for the government to tax the salaries that it is directly paying. Doctor
        salaries and channeling fees are not adjusted for tax payments – hence if you
        are suggesting taxing their salaries – you are also suggesting a salary hike.

        After this almighty assault on doctors, their incomes and comparing their
        salaries to those of teachers, you now claim that the main issue is with the
        GMOA. I have never justified the GMOA. The GMOA is corrupt – no doubt about it.
        It is a highly politicized organization in its current format. The same way
        that the police, all government organizations and ministries and almost
        everything in our island of paradise is corrupt. But that is not the mandate
        of the GMOA . The GMOA is a trade union for medical practitioners – nothing
        more. There is a lot of resentment among doctors in the way that the GMOA is
        carrying out its duties. There is an Association of Medical Specialists that is
        coming into the limelight. I agree with you that GMOA stinks to its core! But
        the doctors’ grievances are true. By these actions, the government is pushing
        the medical practitioners further into the grip of the GMOA as it is the only
        trade union for doctors with any sort of clout at this time. If the government
        looks into the legitimate requirements of the doctors, then the GMOA would be
        isolated – and not many doctors would mind it. The strike was not just about
        duty free permits – do some reading before you write an article!

        What I have mentioned regarding the eligibility for a vehicle and a driver
        is true and there is a circular in that regard – which you are clearly not
        aware of. It is far better to have a government vehicle with a driver and
        maintenance including petrol than to buy a car on a permit. [edit]

        I do not have the trade union background that you claim to have. We are
        talking about a professional trade union – fighting for the just rights of its
        members – medical practitioners. There is no need to have joint fronts to fight
        in ‘solidarity’ with other non medical trade unions! The main issue is that the
        current GMOA sometimes seems to be going beyond their mandate fighting for
        matters not related to trade union issues (such as supporting the former President
        at the election) rather than focusing on its members. No thank you – I like
        this version of the GMOA (with all of its flaws) better than your concept of ‘Solidarity’.
        You sound very much like a Marxist in the 70s who wishes for countrywide
        strikes on multiple fronts on every minute issue. The GMOA membership dislikes
        every trade union action that it takes – there are lots of arguments at branch
        union meetings when a strike is called. There is no walk out like in other
        sectors – as you suggest. Ward patients, emergencies including surgeries are
        still managed. It is the clinics and OPD that is dysfunctional – resulting in
        enough ammunition for the media with no real impact on the really sick
        patients. I doubt that there has even been a single death directly attributable
        to a strike by GMOA as this is what the membership strives to prevent. This is
        unlike strikes by nurses etc., who walk out locking the medicine cupboards and
        everything else when they go on strike. This is why the government caves in to
        their strikes and allows for doctors to strike for days to weeks – think about
        it!

        Regarding the paramedical degrees, did you look into the basis for the objections? Did you go through the
        curriculum of these degrees to see how it needed 4 years? Do you know that these
        courses had about six months of English, a research and an internship-like
        program included to stretch this from a three year degree to a four year
        program?

        I hope that you will read my comments with an open mind. I agree that there is so much wrong with the Sri Lankan public service, and there are many disillusioned people. However if we want the public health sector to be vibrant, then we need to attract the best into all medical fields and make sure that are well remunerated.

        • Kusal Perera

          Dear Dr. Rodrigo, do I have to respond to you now? You accept and say, “I have never justified the GMOA. The GMOA is corrupt – no doubt about it. It is a highly politicized organization in its current format. The same way that the police, all government organizations and ministries and almost everything in our island of paradise is corrupt.”

          One simple question to you, you can have the pleasure and comfort of ignoring if you wish. Can the GMOA be politicised and corrupt as you agree, IF majority of its members are professionally honest and personally generous humans?

          The simple answer is, “NO”. The GMOA is now an association of individuals who exploit once a noble profession for personal gains, privileges and profits without limits. That is the strength of the politicised and corrupt GMOA.

          From all what you say and argue you prove that you belong to the present GMOA
          ideology, even if you are not a member and not in the country. Read through both your posts. They are all about individual interests, individual demands and individual privileges. Nothing about social responsibility, social obligations, social duties and sharing in a profession that needs a generous collective outlook.

          I am not surprised and I don’t have to be told that you are “one of the selfish ones”. Sarcasm will not erase that truth. Other than those migrant employees in the Mid East, every single Sinhala person who left this country, what ever excuse they would give, left on very selfish reasons. Therefore you will not be arguing for the people, but for individual benefits. So there ends this dialogue.

          Kusal Perera

  • ram2009

    Is this not a dispute between between the Employer (Dept. of Health) and the Employees (the doctors).? The latter are represented by their trade union, the GMOA. The Hippocratic Oath has no place in the argument.

    Misrepresentation here I hope is due to utter ignorance rather than from a desire to cause mischief or denigrate the profession. The ability to be contacted when on call, and the ability to respond with alacrity when called in to an urgent or emergency case at the hospital, from your home, are essential elements in the practice of a hospital doctor. A telephone and a car are therefore crucial necessities, unlike in most other professions where they are status symbols. Both are therefore subsidised (in the form of a car permit every 5 years), as they are available for private use too. A doctor dependent solely on the government salary would not be able to afford a car at the prices
    prevalent today.

    The attempt to compare the salaries of teachers with those of doctors is laughable to say the least. The comments betray problems that seems to exist in the minds of a few with the profession in general, and at least some of these are expressions of unadulterated jealousy.