Health sector employees have been diverted from their normal hospital duties in order to help out in the upcoming Presidential election campaign, All Ceylon Health Services Union president Gamini Kumarasinghe told the Sunday Times.
“We were informed that the Health Ministry had sent out a circular requesting that some hospital employees be given duty leave to work as co-ordinators to ministers and deputy ministers ahead of the Presidential election,” Mr. Kumarasinghe said.
“Those who refused would be given a pay cut. We lodged a complaint with the Elections Commissioner. Subsequently, the Election Commissioner ordered that all such employees should resume their hospital duties,” Mr. Kumarasinghe said.
Most the health workers attached to state hospitals ignored the circular, while those attached to base hospitals responded to the Ministry request, he said. “Staff of the Medical Supplies Division are making cut-outs and banners for President Rajapaksa’s election campaign. They are working at an adjoining worksite.”
Mr. Kumarasinghe said the Secretary to the Ministry of Health had been notified of this matter. “Over the past three years, more than 3,000 new appointments have been made in the health sector, and the majority of these are political appointments,” Mr. Kumarasinghe said.