The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) issued a one week ultimatum to the Presidential Committee appointed to look into the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) issue to respond positively to the rights of the patients or else they would resort to further stronger trade union action.
The GMOA’s general committee met on March 9. Until March 16, the GMOA will be continuing public awareness programmes along with the activities conducted with other activists regarding the SAITM issue albeit in a more intensive manner.
On March 8, the GMOA presented proposals including calling for the gazetting of the minimum standards with regard to medical education and the halting of the recruitment of new students to SAITM.
The proposals were made to the Presidential Committee appointed in this regard during a discussion conducted between the two parties.
Media spokesman of the GMOA Dr. Samantha Ananda said that the Presidential Committee should give their suggestions based on the discussion held with the GMOA regarding the matter and publish their views by March 16, when the GMOA expects to see the outcome of the discussion. If not, the executive committee of the GMOA will meet on March 16 to decide on their next course of action.
According to Dr. Ananda, the general committee of the GMOA has been given complete authority by the executive committee to take any credible action to protect the rights of the patients to receive treatment from a safe doctor who has received his or her education at a place where the minimum standards of medical education are maintained.
A contentious question remains with regard to the minimum standards maintained at SAITM. Three committees of experts have previously declared that the minimum standards are not maintained.
“It is the duty of the Presidential Committee to take any decision or make recommendations which should safeguard the right of the patient to receive treatment from a safe doctor who has received his or her education at a place where the minimum standards of education are maintained. Life safety must be assured. Thus far, we have conducted trade union actions with minimal impact on the patients as this is a struggle to protect the rights of the patients. If the Presidential Committee doesn’t respond positively on behalf of the rights of the patients, further action will definitely be stronger than the action taken thus far and may possibly include island-wide trade union action including the possibility of a general strike,” said Dr. Ananda.