Heart trouble over Jaffna docs
Parliamentary Select Committee to take up dispute tomorrow
The proposal to appoint the medical graduates of the Jaffna University as interns to hospitals only in the Jaffna district has drawn wide protests and the matter will be discussed with the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) representatives at the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting tomorrow.
Last week the Health Minister forwarded the proposal to appoint Jaffna University medical graduates, irrespective of their rank in the merit list according to which appointments are usually made, to hospitals as interns in their area, acceding to a request made by TNA MPs.
Minister Rajitha Senaratne who opposed the proposal at the Cabinet meeting, told The Sunday Times that implementing this proposal would lead to political interference in medical appointments and transfers.“The President ordered us to discuss it further at the Consultative Committee meeting with the participation of the GMOA,” the minister said.
A representative of the Jaffna University 2000/2001 batch, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Sunday Times that legal action would be sought if needed but it would be better if Cabinet approval of the proposal could be prevented.“Some of us will be represented at the Consultative Committee meeting tomorrow as well,” he said.
He said that though a Jaffna consultant had said there was a shortage of doctors in the North and East and made a request that the vacancies be filled, he had not requested that medical graduates from the Jaffna University should fill these vacancies.“We accept that there is a shortage of doctors but appointing trainee doctors won’t solve the problem. The requirement is not for trainee doctors but doctors who are qualified. We are not fully qualified doctors but interns who have to be trained under consultants,” he said.
“The training period is an opportunity we get to be trained under qualified consultants, if we are at the top of the merit list. We work hard to get to that level. What’s the point in us sitting for a common MCQ test with the rest of the students if we are not to be judged according to it?” he said adding that according to these proposals, only Jaffna University students have no choice whereas other students have.
“So, obviously, we see it as discrimination. Our talents are not being considered at all. We see no point in studying hard for our final MBBS,” the representative said.
All the students of his batch were discouraged by the proposal, he said.
Many parties were opposing this proposal along with the medical students of all the faculties and 700 graduates of the 2000/2001 batch who are expecting their internship appointments.