20 October, 2021

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SAITM Is Not A Private Medical College But A Private Monopoly!

By Hema Senanayake

Hema Senanayake

It is true that capitalistic system of economy has been relatively successful than any system of economy so far. It has uplifted the living standards of millions and millions of people around the globe even though it cannot resolve all the economic issues faced by the human race. Milton Friedman once intimated that an average woman living today commands many labour hours for her consumption than was commanded by possibly a Queen in the middle ages of our civilization.

The foundation of capitalism is the acceptance of free enterprise system and competition. Both these characters are vital for the efficient allocation of social resources among various production processes and to establish a very efficient price mechanism. Monopolies distort these two efficient mechanisms of the economy and hence the world of free enterprises out rightly rejects private monopolies – And the SAITM is a monopoly.

The Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne being a former socialist has come to the realization that free enterprise system is a worldwide phenomenon now including China and Vietnam. It seems that he has learned it by observation. It is good but since he is a new convert to capitalism, I may suggest to him to learn it by theory mentioned above. If he did, he would not have missed the monopolistic nature of the SAITM.

The lack of understanding of any subject may lead to make wrongful decisions. This lack of understanding in regard to the private medical education is quiet clear in the thinking of the government as a whole. This thinking was revealed to the parliament by a recent speech made by the Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. Especially this revelation was quite clear from the purported solutions that are being considered by the government as told by Dr. Senaratne.

First solution is that the government is considering to take over the teaching hospital of SAITM and functioning of the medical college would continue as it is. This is an outright fraud. This would further strengthen the monopolistic nature of this business. According to Dr. Senaratne the teaching hospital of the SAITM has been constructed with having all the necessary medical equipment, amenities and laboratories. Yet, according to him, there is a problem. This problem is significant. That problem is that this hospital has no enough patients for clinical practices of the medical students. It is clear that no good medical doctor would be produced without proper clinical practices. So, the solution is fraudulently simple. Nationalize the hospital, so there will be enough patients for SATM students – And leave the medical school intact. The profit center of the monopoly will remain as it is. The nation should reject this fraudulent solution. 

The second solution is to run SAITM as non-profit educational organization. Before, we consider this proposal we must first look into the ultimate proposal put forward by the GMOA. They want to nationalize the Malambe Medical School. This too is not a reasonable proposal because economically the nationalization would reduce total national proceeds and reduce capital accumulation in this sector of the economy. If we left this to happen, the country will only be able to talk about the past relative glory of our public medical education not about the future glory. Hence, I think, GMOA must be open to dialogue in this subject and must do their homework with the support of a few talented economists before they issue an ultimate solution to the government.

It is true that even under capitalism the common interests must be produced by the government. But at the same time a greater prudent effort must be made to increase the national proceeds from which most of the capital and consumption money are allocated. Tax money which is the core income of the government that used to produce common interests is also a part of the consumption money allocated by enterprises. Without enterprises there will be no production of common interests by the government under capitalism.      

However, medical education is not a common interest that should be produced completely by the government. GMOA has accepted this. Even without SAITM, in the broader sense the medical education will continue as a partial common interest produced by the government. That is why Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) and the GMOA accept the registration of foreign educated medical students subject to certain parameters. Since, I do not think that GMOA should be against for the increase of national proceeds and local capital accumulation of this vital sector. If social justice is a concern in private medical education then there are numerous market based solutions with a few macroeconomic adjustments to resolve such problems. .

Now, you may understand that the solution to run SAITM as a non-profit organization is no solution. It will deprive the creativity and the capital accumulation and reinvestment. This solution is worse than the nationalization.

The third solution is to run the SAITM as a joint private and public enterprise listed in the stock market. No monopoly will become a free and competitive enterprise by having sold a certain amount of equity to the government and by listing it in the stock market. Broad based share owning does not change the monopolistic nature of any enterprise.

If the government is honest in finding a true viable solution, the best thing is to uphold the principle of free enterprise mechanism in the partial production of medical education so as to ensure the efficiency of resource allocation and to ensure having efficient price mechanism to protect consumers. If you look at the financial statements of SAITM, you may easily understand that consumer rights had been violated so drastically by this monopoly. However, until the government establishes a suitable framework to put in place to have free enterprise mechanism in private medical education, the government should in collaboration with the GMOA and SLMC, establishes a suitable regulatory framework to regulate SAITM to protect the consumer rights, social justice and educational standards.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    4

    Oh,…… I’d bet you, this current GoSL has no interest in “protecting the consumer rights, social justice and educational standards” for the masses. No indeed, they love the medical monopoly, just as much as they love the tallest tower in Asia…..and the Christmas tree. **************But what about dismantling SAITM, and allowing paying students into the governmental system – under reasonable regulation of course. This way, their paying rupees can be used for the common good for all. Then free enterprise and competition will be kick-started, at last, in a truly objective playing-field.

  • 3
    3

    Successive GoSLs always had sycophants who prospered. This resulted in Colombo centred developments. SAITM is by the filthy rich, for the filthy rich. In this sense it is a monopoly.

    • 2
      0

      village hawk the cities tentacles.
      Your heaven is so small you are seeing it from the bottom of the well.

  • 1
    1

    Just make the minimum requirements to enter the SAITM 3 B’s at the Adv level exams.Those who have money and 3B’s can enter it and become doctors.At the moment i think even 3 passes are okay.

    • 2
      0

      3s what a joke?

      • 0
        2

        niroshan
        this is what someone whose daughter missed entering medical college with 1A 2B told me.SAITM has been taking with even 3 passes.No wonder the GMOA are angry.

  • 10
    2

    It puzzles me why so much is written about SAITM, when it is not complicated at all. Who cares who runs it and who profits. The important fact is we need more medical personnel that are of high quality chosen from the cream of the country who will be accepted for registration by the SLMC. Any private medical school should work with the SLMC to make sure their curriculum and training is acceptable to the SLMC. If this is not achieved it does not matter who runs, who profits, who monopolizes!

    • 2
      0

      Well said. We need more private not only medical colleges but educational institutions on all other spheres of education. The entire world is depending on private sector lead growth. Why not us. It is the duty of the government to ensure standards.

    • 0
      7

      Eusense,

      Not too sure. Make medical issues a monopoly in our poor country, and in the end, the taxpayer money of the masses will be used to keep the health care monopoly financially viable. It will become like the US where 33% is without health care, and 50% struggling with it. In a poor country like Sri Lanka, it will become 98% struggling with health care costs, and 90% without it.

      • 6
        0

        RTF
        I don’t know what you are trying to say. The bottom line in my post is, any private Medical School should satisfy the requirements of the country’s medical registration body.
        I am not talking about health-care costs or access to healthcare in Sri Lanka.
        The author of this article is writing about monopolizing which is irrelevant to the problem on hand.

        • 0
          7

          Eusense,

          Once GoSL starts subsidizing private medical schools, country monies (that come from the taxpaying of the masses), will be diverted unfairly for this venture*************. An exclusive private medical school means that medical care will become exclusively privatized also. Graduates won’t work in areas of the country that GMOA specially selects its students for, so health care in the country can be democratically reachable for the Lankan masses. ************If ever it becomes a private monopoly on the global stock market and things, this will incur elite privatized medical care to keep the monopoly viable. This can’t be practical for a poor country like Sri Lanka, but something speculatory on the global markets, and so out of synch with the necessity of the masses. Better it is, for paying students of a certain standard, to enter the public university system.

          • 6
            2

            RTF
            You are jumping the gun. Looks like you have no idea how medicine is practiced all over the world including SL. Weather subsidized by the gov. or anybody else the final outcome is decided by the SLMC which is the medical licensure body parallel to any other country of the world. Any private institution needs to be accredited by the SLMC, which will decide the quality of students, quality of the curriculum and clinical training before licencing them to practice whether in “elite privatized medical care” or any other medical care. SLMC as it is recognizes only SL AL exam as the basic requirement. I want the SLMC to make sure that private medical schools admit students from the same merit list used by the state medical schools. In other words student who were selected for dentistry and veterinary science should be the ones to be admitted if any, but none who were not admitted to any course of study in the state universities.
            This is the reason why GMOA and the SLMC are fighting against institutions like SAITM which is trying to flood under qualified physicians to their profession with political power.

            • 2
              3

              Eusense,

              From what I see, it seems that most students that go into STAIM have very high grades, but for reasons of country areas quotas, they can’t enter government medical school. Entrance to university and medical school is based on formulas pertaining to the needs of each town and province, island-wide. Therefore, there is a cut-off point from each area, even if an area produces a higher than average A- Level score. This is correct for a democratically functioning country. *************For the privatized schools this is the set of “left-out” students that enter. Ok, maybe one or two with lesser grades enter in because of family wealth. And private schools, without assistance from the Government, might succumb to this, to keep themselves viable. *****************However, the problem might not be with a few infractions of the private places. I believe the problem lies in the unfairness towards the democratic process, where richer places, will have an overabundance of medical professionals, thus contribution to overall country inflation and imbalance. With Government subsidies or global monopoly on healthcare, it will surely suck the life out of the overall country. This tends to happen in all other industries, but for it to happen to the medical industry that is meant to serve humanity, this will surely be a travesty.

              • 1
                1

                rtf
                Can you link me to your information “that most students that go into STAIM have very high grades”. As far as I heard, most students who are in SAITM are politician’s children, relatives and others who are well connected or wealthy. Do you know the AL results of our Minister Rajitha’s daughter in law? Do you have any data on AL results of students admitted to SAITM? In fact, SAITM should release them if they have a genuine case. This info will tell tales of what is really happening.
                I speculate that the politicians, the well connected and the wealthy are trying to make a separate path for their offspring and relatives to become physicians avoiding the regular more difficult path the common people like you and me take. The GMOA has sensed this and do not want this to happen. I don’t blame them as I will never allow my profession to be flooded with half baked under/un qualified “physicians” and hurt the ill.
                From what I have read most applications filled up by SAITM students for medical registration with the SLMC did not qualify for registration because they had only London AL. It is no secret that London AL is of lower standards and most students obtain high grades. The very reason the SLMC do not accept London AL results.
                You and others who are for SAITM should first fight the politicians to end this “area” quota system and strictly adhere to all merit.
                In my opinion, if SAITM students were not selected to any course of study in state universities they are not worthy of studying medicine.

            • 2
              0

              “”Eusense””
              “”You are jumping the gun. Looks like you have no idea how medicine is practiced all over the world including SL. “”
              I like that. cheers!
              subject is like Kim jung un I want it! why? – nathi bari kamate That is mine everything is mine- so set the place on fire. Gotabaya needs to lock these malaperatha foreigners and throw the keys away.

      • 2
        0

        “”taxpayer money of the masses “”
        dodawana reeker too fat. your horns have got too long aren’t they curling?
        collective tax of the masses is only a needle in a haystack even in the usa or uk and it is the corporate sector that pays the major component of taxes.

        • 0
          0

          Corporate sector utilizes the labor and recourses of the masses.

          • 2
            0

            You are all gas no mind!
            workers get paid for the labour and here at europe and canada we pay 40% taxes individual for our services – which includes medical so if we are not happy with the service we purchase private insurance.
            Go tell your horns story to the japanese and they would tell you that you smell of fish (means you are meant for soylent green)
            BGo check the economy of any nation and from where the taxes arrive – its servant class – even Mao took 100 years of starvation yet could not accomplish until America opened the doors. Visit Cuba see how they live go find your home there or North korea and feel at home.
            Money makes the world spin not a stupid vote and horns
            Matador!!

    • 0
      0

      Eusense.
      Agree totally.
      Commonsense makes no sense in SL.
      The country is broke and run by sick politicians where the
      law of the jungle prevails; ” the survival of the fittest”

  • 0
    0

    Always first one of the field will be monopoly until second player come to the market. That is simple fact (hope he can understand). Education minister say more to come.

  • 0
    0

    Would you please reveal the evidence for you to claim that SAITM is a monopoly?

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