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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Sri Lankan court orders to suspend doctors’ strike

 The Colombo District Court has issued an enjoining order to suspend the token strike by Sri Lanka’s doctors’ union, Government Medical Officers� Association (GMOA), scheduled to be held for Tuesday.
The court order prevents the GMOA from holding any trade union action for the next 14 days.

The 7000-member GMOA has planned to hold the token strike to protest against the private medical college and the alleged reprisals targeting the Chairman of the union, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya.

The Colombo District Court has issued the order this morning after hearing a petition filed by a patient at the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital, Mrs. Juliana Dahanayaka, stating that the doctors’ action causes undue suffering to the patients.

Courts after hearing the petition has ordered that the GMOA not resort to any union action for the next 14 days.

The doctors’ union demanded the Bribery or Corruption Commission to return the personal file of Dr. Padeniya that was taken away illegally, as claimed by the GMOA, on September 27 and demanded the Commission to return the personal file by 12 noon on Monday (October 03). The union vowed to start a trike immediately unless their demand was granted.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. Sankalpa Marasinghe has said that the personal file of Dr. Padeniya has been returned by the Commission and the strike scheduled for Tuesday was called off.

The union said it has also learnt that the alleged bribery charges against Dr. Padeniya have been dropped.

Dr. Padeniya: charges dropped
The Health Ministry yesterday exonerated medical specialist and GMOA President Anuruddha Padeniya from  all charges levelled against him and this resulted in the GMOA deciding against the threatened trade union action scheduled for today.

The GMOA on Friday threatened trade union action from today unless Dr. Padeniya’s personal file was returned to the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital (LRH) director by noon yesterday.

The dispute arose after the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption recorded a statement from Dr. Padeniya last week in connection with his leave to go abroad for post graduate studies.

The GMOA called this an act of victimization because the Commission had nothing to do with the leave of public servants as it did not fall within the ambit of its functions. In the wake of a meeting between the GMOA and Minister Maithripala Sirisena on Friday afternoon, a four-member committee headed by Ministry Secretary Ravinda Ruberu was appointed to look into the allegations.

Dr. Ruberu said the committee exonerated Dr. Padeniya and ruled he had obtained his study leave in accordance with departmental regulations and guidelines and had after completing his post graduate studies qualified as a specialist in paediatrics and neurology. 

The committee also ruled that Dr. Padeniya had obtained the payments due to him during his foreign training in accordance with ministry regulations and had not committed any offence.

The committee included Health Services Director General Ajith Mendis, Additional Secretary Sarathchandra Withana and Medical Services Director R. Balasuriya.


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