ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 06

Minister, GMOA settle row over Private Medical Act

By Nadia Fazlulhaq

The controversial Private Medical Services Regulatory Commission Bill is to be reviewed following successful talks between Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and the Government Medical Officers Association on Friday, officials said. They said the amendment to the act would be recommended by an experts committee which would incorporate changes proposed by the GMOA.

But a Health Ministry official said the act would not be abolished as demanded by the GMOA but would be amended to incorporate fruitful proposals submitted by the GMOA. He said the minister was of the view that the regulatory council envisaged in the act would be a useful mechanism to crack down on quacks and control the fees charged by medical institutions. According to the official, GMOA representatives would make up at least 90 percent of the experts committee which would also include the Director General of the Health Service and a representative from the Attorney General’s Department among others.

The Act passed earlier this year called on government doctors engaged in private practice to register themselves, provoking protest from the GMOA. GMOA Secretary Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said the Minister had agreed with the GMOA and instructed Dr. Ajith Mendis, Director General of Health Services, to make all arrangements to amend the act.“Our proposals were patient-friendly as well as the service providers who play a major role in the private medical sector,” he said.

The GMOA proposals call for the eradication of the hidden tax, the setting up of an independent council comprised of experts with no political involvement; a review of the definition of the term ‘private health sector’ and steps to ensure that the Act does not clash with the Medical Ordinance, which empowers the Medical Council.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.