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The ministry of health has discussed the possibility of introducing private chanelling of doctors through some major government hospitals in the evenings after 4pm with the aim of providing medical consultation at more affordable rates to the people.

According to Health Ministry sources, it has been proposed that doctors, paramedics and other relevant staff remain at the hospital premises after their working hours for which they would be paid overtime and other incentives. The proposal is likely to be presented to the Cabinet in the near future.

Currently doctors and paramedics work at State hospitals only from 8am to 4pm resulting in a long waiting list of patients who are not attended to in the evenings.

In addition, it has also been proposed that State hospitals use the operating theatre facilities of private hospitals in order to conduct bypass and other major surgeries reducing the waiting list in the government hospitals.

The charges for these surgeries would be borne by the government itself, ministry officials said. They also pointed out that this move would serve as an opportunity for newly qualified medical specialists who are not currently engaged in private practice as well as paramedics.

The Ministry has already held talks with several stakeholders including private hospitals in this regard and an understanding is said to have been reached on the issue.

Meanwhile, Director, National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL), Dr. Anil Jasinghe  when contacted said such a move would be most welcome.

He pointed out that a similar proposal had been made previously too although nothing had materialized.

“We have not been informed of it or been part of any talks with the Ministry of Health regarding it,” Dr Jasinghe said.