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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2704

Standardization of medical practices is a timely requirement

Colombo, 12 February, (

The Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) Executive Committee met President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday morning, to discuss about SAITM issue and handed over a letter with proposals to revoke the situation and demanded to stop further admissions immediately. President will appoint a Special Expert Committee and action would be taken according to their recommendation.

Following are the contents of the letter:

Our belief is that safeguarding the rights of patients when providing medical services is a fundamental responsibility of a civilized government. A government must confirm the minimum standard of medical services to ensure patients safety. The state mechanism being adopted to fulfill this technical function is revealed through Acts. It is the Medical Council which has the authority to do so on behalf of the government. The SLMC is the independent body that implements the relevant Acts in order to protect the rights of patients, on behalf of the government.

To ensure/protect the rights of patients, the SLMC should:

• Recognition or confirmation of minimum standards of medical colleges which produce doctors. (University Act and Medical Act) (Recognition)

• Registration and regulation of doctors who serve patients and born by such recognized universities.- (Implementation of Medical Act)

The Court Case No. CA/WRIT/187/2016 - has pointed out how the Higher Education Minister and the Health Minister who operate executive powers to protect the patients had been aloof.

• Medical Colleges function under the Ministry of Higher Education. But in Sri Lanka it has been confirmed by the University Act that a Medical College to obtain the Degree Awarding Status should get a Compliance Certificate from the Medical Council. But the former Minister of Higher Education using a Minister's powers had released a gazette in 2011 to SAITM without a Compliance Certificate from the Medical Council. There are a lot of shortcomings. There is no effective empowerment date. There is a list of shortcomings which refrain from granting Degree Awarding Status to the SAITM. Therefore it is clear that SAITM does not have the technical capacity that is essential to provide medical education.

The court decision mentions that complainant student of this case joined SAITM in 2009 with the intention of receiving a MD Russia, but could obtain MBBS SAITM.

After issuing an undated gazette notification in 2011, by the Higher Education Minister explaining the shortcomings of SAITM, the second gazette notification was released in 2013. That too was issued without a Compliance Certificate from the SLMC. Not only that, since the second gazette notification was a back dated notification, it states that SAITM has completed all the needed requirements in relation to standard. But this is not a truth. Because -

Since 2009, SAITM did not have at least a hospital. (It was in 2012 a foundation stone was laid for building a hospital.

It was in 2011 that SAITM applied for a Degree Awarding Status.

The former Higher Education Minister himself has admitted that SITEM had many shortcomings by 2011, from his first gazette notification.

Accordingly the former Higher Education Minister, while signing the second gazette notification had not thought about the first gazette notification. It was how the two gazette notifications have become contradictory.

It is mentioned in the court decision that the present Higher Education Minister has not taken measures to correct these errors.

The present Health Minister as the Minister responsible to act according to the Medical Act, has acted completely contradictorily that previous Health Ministers had acted. As pointed out in the court decision, he is responsible for two technical errors.

• It is mentioned in the court decision that the Health Minister had not implemented the official powers vested to him under the Medical Act in relation to the technical report provided by the SLMC on the observation of SAITM. As a result it is mentioned that the minimum standardization required for SAITM to be recognized, was not confirmed before the law. Accordingly it is clear that the present Health Minister has blocked/obscured revelation of the low standard of SAITM.

The SLMC has divulged its criteria for standardization. They are being practiced with transparency. As the Minister for this subject he has not mentioned it to the courts. The counsel who appeared for the Health Minister has mentioned the courts, that the minimum standard for medical education had not been approved in Parliament. That is the legal authority for criteria being used by the Medical Council for standardization, has not been granted by Parliament.

When Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva and current President as Health Ministers attempted to get Parliament approval for minimum standard of medical education, according to the Hansard reports, it was Rajitha Senaratne who opposed those attempts. Accordingly it is proved that his behavior is contradictory to the SLMC and the rights of patients.

We mention below what is to be done to ensure patient's rights furthermore.

• The Health Minister to bow the technical decision of the SLMC to complete the duties that is officially assigned to him according to the medical Act.

• The Health Minister to fulfill the official duties to get approval to the Act which confirms the minimum standard for medical education (Medical Act).

• The Higher Education Minister to act to obtain the Compliance Certificate which is included with recommendations of the SLMC (University Act)

• If it cannot be obtained, according to the University Act, to cancel the gazette notification he had already issued (University Act)

• To take all measures by the constitutional and executive powers in order to safeguard the rights of patients.

• It is a timely step to take into consideration the in appropriative behaviour of this institution and the negative atmosphere that may create, and to take measures to redirect medical education to a corrective path so that it is merged into a state mechanism.

- Asian Tribune -

Standardization of medical practices is a timely requirement
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