26 June, 2022


Settle SAITM Deadlock To Avoid Breakdown

By Somapala Gunadheera

Somapala Gunadheera

The threatened strike by the GMOA with the participation of several other TUs that have a debilitating grip on public life is likely to have a devastating effort on the common people. If the strike is extended, poor patients who cannot afford private medical attention will be groaning helplessly to their end on OPD benches. The damage to be caused by the other unions joining the strike goes without saying. The President and his Government should intervene without delay to avoid that calamity.

The solution proposed by the Medical Deans’ Association appears to be an amicable approach to the problem. According to papers they have made the following proposals at a meeting with the President, which had been attended by all parties that have a stake in the matter. Briefly the proposals are:-

  1. Stop admissions to SAITM with immediate effect
  2. Stop SAITM from granting an MBBS degree forthwith
  3. Legalise the minimum standards required for medical education
  4. Appoint a committee to bring about a fair solution for all the students who have got trapped in the SAITM
  5. The Health Minister should act on the technical report which was submitted on SAITM by a team from the Sri Lanka Medical Council
  6.  The Higher Education Minister should make it clear that SAITM has not obtained a compliance certificate from the SLMC

It is heartening to hear that the GMOA had no objections to these proposals. Meanwhile the Association of Medical Specialists has pointed out that the SAITM issue has created many “unfavourable” outcomes to the national health system, the AMS has submitted a set of mal effects arising from this dilemma. They are.

  1. All state medical faculties are not functioning due to students boycotting lectures, clinical training and examinations, This can cause a delay in starting internship appointments
  2. A delay is caused to post internship appointments and admission of new students to state medical faculties.
  3. The CA judgment has exposed major weaknesses and lapses in the monitoring of medical education in our country. All these can give rise to long term and irrevocable losses to the national health system.
  4. Students who are already in SAITM with acceptable entry qualifications should be given an opportunity to complete their clinical training in SLMC-approved hospitals, until the SLMC is satisfied with the standards of clinical training in SAITM
  5. The ‘compliance certificate’ should be an essential pre-requisite to granting provisional registration for SAITM graduates
  6.  The Advanced Level results of all students at SAITM should be scrutinised and those without the minimum entry qualifications asked to leave SAITM with compensation.

It would be kinder to give a chance to the students under-qualified in their basic education to refurbish themselves. In their reply to the above statements the SAITM has made a positive response stating,

  1. SAITM notes the progressive and constructive sentiments expressed in the Joint Statement of the Panel of Deans of State Medical Faculties
  2. SAITM fully endorses the Panel’s recommendations, for strong regulations to be enacted and implemented by the State, to supervise and regulate all Public and Private High Education Programmes.
  3. SAITM has at all times been amenable to supervision of their Medical Degree Programme by the State.
  4. Principles of Natural Justice had not been observed in not giving SAITM an opportunity to be heard prior to issuing the Joint Statement of the Panel of Deans.
  5. At the time SAITM was awarded its Degree Awarding status in 2011, there was no legal requirement to obtain a Compliance Certificate from SLMC or any specified Professional Body.
  6. SAITM responded to UGC on the recommendations to be “duly satisfied” after which the Degree awarding status was granted to SAITM in August 2011.
  7. The Panel has concluded that the Memorandum of Understanding dated 27/04/2011 with the Provincial Director of Health Services of the Western Province to provide Clinical, Surgical and other in house practical training and experience to its students to train in Government Hospitals was never implemented

It appears from the above statement of SAITM that they had had no resistance from the previous regime and the new dispensation has taken them by surprise in reading the Riot Act to them. Contrary to the position taken by the authorities that the GMOA had no status to intervene, it may be argued that they have an obligation to ensure the quality of their future members. All in all, a reading of the above statements does not reveal any insurmountable difference among the respective parties. SAITM has welcomed the main demand to broad base the venture.

All that is needed to remove the pending Diogenes’ sword on the people is  for the interested parties to sit together and work out an amicable solution. Judging from past experience, the Precedent is the best suited to convene such a meeting. He has a unique way of bringing about peace among warring parties. It is earnestly hoped that he would act before the threatened bombshell explodes on the people.

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  • 11

    ………Contrary to the position taken by the authorities that the GMOA had no status to intervene,IT MAY BE ARGUED THAT THEY HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO ENSURE THE QUALITY OF THEIR FUTURE MEMBERS….says the essayist.
    Well,if this argument is extended the BASL,IESL and all other Professional bodies will also begin to exercise this obligation business!
    I believe that there is a widespread opinion that the GMOA HAS NO STATUS TO INTERVENE.

    • 11

      GMOA has no status to intervene, but they have obstructed every move to give SAITM clinical training from 2011 not allowing MOU up until yesterday at Homagama hospital protest where IUSF leader in photo. Must understand lawless terrorist mafia who also have legal access to all govt hospitals to even partially paralyse and destroy. So forget about grand plans for clinical training. Just give SAITM internship training where consultants cant kill their own patients in their wards without severe repercussions. Be not naive to stop GMOA any other way

    • 4

      as the Govts change every 5 years….it is the next Govt & Minister’s dicision that will be implemented ..
      we have seen this mess in all areas…The mess is due to lack of a National Policy on Economy..Education…Health..Transport…Agriculture..
      Every 5 years the Govt get appointed rule the Country as if it is their own property and
      People are their subjects ( slaves )
      Whatever the Shortcomings one may observe in the SLMC/GMOA/AMS …their Policy is consistent on
      Medical Education, Recruitment of interns for Medical profession
      The successive Govts have already destroyed Agriculture…Transport…Education…Economy..
      Now only Medical Education remains to be destroyed …
      It is intact because of the STRENGTH of Medical Practitioners and CONSISTENCY OF POLICY…

      If the Unis are inadequate in the Country and cost US$ 6.0-8.0bn Forex ..it is the Govt responsibility to establish new Unis or expand existing unis to accommodate the qualifying students and save that money
      .pvt Unis are not the solution in our poor Country….because it deprives the majority….
      the Govt also cry approx LKR 2,000 mn or US$ 13.0 mn spent by poor parents..!!!! Why the Govt is worried on LKR 2.0bn when they deprive Tax LKR 37.0bn on Duty Free luxury vehicles..

      Govts appointed should act for the benifit of the people…if not they must get out….if the projects are detrimental people have the right to agitate ..strike work against the very Govt appointed….just because a Govt is appointed don’t People have right to express their views ? Those who agitate are not fools or idiots…

      We have witnessed the bloodshed ..destruction with oppression over the last 30 years with the very famous ANTI GOVT ELEMENTS SONG…

      THE GOVT SHOULD ENGAGE THESE PEOPLE AND DRAFT LASTING COHESIVE POLICIES…WHICH IS THE CORRECT WAY OF GOOD GOVERNANCE….we as a Country should be ashamed that even after 70 years of independence …do we have a National Policy at least on GARBAGE DISPOSAL….



  • 7

    GMOA is not ready for negotiations at a table, whatever the pundits may say. In fact they want this SAITM issue boiling for political come back of their god who is bull dozing to get back power to save themselves, or be hanged. Govt can shock GMOA by immediate take over of SAITM with financial compensation if they really want to avoid breakdown of free health service catering to the poor. In the final analysis, GMOA wants control of all doctors and hence nationalization will have to be done. They are terrorist mafia with political backing. Better sooner than later. Justice and court verdict will have to stand to avoid string of legal cases, and to allow these well trained, falsely accused students and MBBS doctors to complete their training to practice in SL, which is their set goal. Nationalisation will automatically equate all the local MBBS graduates into one category, as opposed to the already legally defined foreign medical graduates. How govt. deals with the Institute called SAITM has to be longterm, as it is a “For Profit” venture with BOI

  • 11

    GMOA- Garbage Mount Of Asia

  • 7

    Historical words

    “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

    Why shrike and put pure patients helpless.

  • 16

    Enough has been said about these GMOA’S and their like, now it’s time for action. Whatever the Govt can do to get rid of this vermin they must do.

    How did JR deal with a similar issue ? I think the PUBLIC SECURITY ACT should be enforced where these striking services are declared essential services, and persons breaking the enactment are subject to prison terms, losing their movable and immovable properties, and be subject to all other penalties.

    There is no other legal way that this rot can be dealt with. The people have had enough of these selfish, morons who only think of themselves, their children, and their families, and to hell with the rest !! Unless the white van strategy is resorted to, as Gota would advocate.

  • 2

    SLMC deans are bigoted intellectual weirdos with no realistic practical common sense or wisdom to handle their own faculties. They want SAITM also closed. Crazy to even think of that as a solution. Their biggest howler is to send SAITM to hospitals. Do they think that GMOA terrorists will welcome them with open arms? Even worse, deans want to set exam for SAITM to fail and destroy before internship. Deans own colleagues are the ones that examined SAITM MBBS externally. Are they trying to create 2 different levels of MBBS, specially after the court verdict to register SAITM MBBS for internship. Those in contempt of court should be jailed.
    If a compliance certificate cc is needed, why does SLMC not give it. KDU and NCMC and all state med. schools never had cc. SLMC does not know process how to give cc Its a comic situation but for tragedy.

    People suggest and discuss but nothing happens. The only valid solution is the court verdict giving internship to SAITM MBBS. All other paths are suicidal and will victimise SAITM, past and future.

  • 6

    GMOA takes the stance no doctors should come out of a private medical school. The same GMOA are mum about the medical degree awarded at Kothalawala Defende University. The GMOA and particularly Padeniya and Navinda Soyza are carrying out a political contract. The General Public should deal with them. Padeniya and Navinda Soyza should remember their beginnings. Let patients deal with the striking doctors the next day when they enter hospitals. Patients are consumers and consumers should show the power to these so called doctors who are in fact goons.

  • 6

    Obtain a court order banning all strikes in health sector or make health services a essential service!!

  • 3

    SAITM issue is completely political. There are other private university programs. Why only medical degree has a problem.

    For every Trade Union, its membership should ask its leadership to work its members and not for the political parties. TUs should not sabatage the country by working for political parties. If not all the trade union should be destroyed, that may be by privatizing the govt institutions.

    butm TU leaders whouls not be that selfish.

    the way, the T”US talk, in Sri lanka no one can function. that should be changed. first inform the leadership how the trade unions politician affiliation destroy the country by taking the wrong decision. IF they don’t change the TU constitutions, laws, regulations etc., privatize govt institutions.

    there is lot of sabotage going on by workers and trade unions in Sri lanka

  • 4

    SAITM saga has gone out of proportion and day by day getting over inflated. The opposition started off as democratic rights to display displeasure over Saitm. Now we find lots of hatred and venom pouring out from the GMOA, and the University Students. It is a bounden duty of any educated Professional to help and assist those seeking education, be it medical or otherwise. If there are shortcomings help those institutions to overcome such shortcomings. We are not living in a classless society. It cannot be presumed all those students in the medical faculties are poor and all those seeking education from private institutes are very rich. Education and Free medical service have become the biggest burden on the Government.

  • 3

    Sri Lanka needs to be promoted as a center of learning. This is part of the strategy to position Sri Lanka as the Hub of South Asia. The outdated thinking of GMOA, who did not protest when SAITM was established by the previous government, shows that GMOA has become a political trade union.

  • 2

    What the writer most sensibly saying is that there is a problem, a serious one, and it has to be solved. The idiotic commentators are wasting CT space.


    • 1

      सोमस जी (somass ji)
      नमस्ते जी(Namaste Ji)

      “The idiotic commentators are wasting CT space.”

      Good, isn’t it self realisation?

      धन्यवाद! सोमस जी (Thanks somass ji)
      जय हिंद Jai Hind

  • 6

    Giving into the GMOA will be victory for Rajapakse. Padeniya is a Rajapakse stooge. SAITM is a degree awarding organisation recognised by the UGC and legally tested by the Judiciary. SriLanka is an educational hub of south asia. Please develop this and you will find Chinese students pouring in. Give up short sighted politics, look to the future.

  • 4

    Never allow GMOA to control this country. Stop this strike by using any measure available. People should not allow theses striking doctors to do private practice. Garbage collectors should not collect garbage from the houses of these murderers. J V P did a huge mistake by joining this mafia .Please don’t give in

  • 3

    Main issue and primary purpose here is the future of SAITM MBBS doctors and SAITM students. The Institute is there for this reason alone. If Institute bows to post MBBS training and exams. simply for political gain rather than a high standard before MBBS and which is absolutely possible with their current staff, this Institute will stagger and fall. If entry was legal, curriculum and staff were right, MBBS exams. were conducted with protocol of due process, and the court has ruled legal verdict of internship, why should now there be another change of garments, process and exam. which is contempt of court. SAITM is willingly falling into the hands of their destroyer, the SLMC with a vengeance. Cant be rescued.
    Better to allow govt. take over, which is accepted by GMOA control of uniformity of nationalization and equation of all local MBBS. GMOA are servants of govt. though acting like terrorists for political reasons, with pensions till they die. Only fools don’t understand GMOA controls hospitals and elections are due next month.
    The foreign med. grads. will pay the price to ERPM mafia extracting money for separate exam., until rescued by a govt. controlled set up.

    Any future private Manipal/Monash can negotiate with govt/UGC/SLMC or other relevant authorities after gazetting conditions applicable to a future govt. Why bother till they apply officially with local/foreign.

    Immediate need is for SAITM MBBS to harmonise into one body with GMOA so that conditions of internship (already allowed) and absorption into serving the govt in remote areas will apply uniformly to all. There cant be 2 different sets of govt. doctors. Neither can there be 2 different levels of MBBS. State students who have different inputs and facilities, some without professors and with other deficiencies, but they are all accepted as one uniform MBBS for state employment. SAITM must be able to harmonise with that one group for practice, both in SLMC registration for internship as well as further progress, practice, postgraduate medical education and all else as doctors.

  • 1

    A strike by doctors is against professional ethics. Doctors priority should be to treat the patients. Saitm case is before the courts. The case is SAITM vs SLMC. Government Doctors interference is an undue pressure on the legal system.They can voice their views. Not strikes.

  • 1

    First of all Government should declare emergency and make health services an essential service to safe guard the public. Thereafter the doctors who resort to strike action should be immediately dismissed from service and open the door to Indian and Chinese doctors to come in and fill the vacancies created by the striking doctors. The SLMC should recruit the doctors who struck work as new recruits and get them to sign document that they will not be eligible for duty free cars in future, no Sabbath leave. should pay back the cost of university education within ten years and not resort to strike action ever again. If they fail to adhere to the new conditions they should be debarred from serving as doctors.
    These GMOA hooligans are a set of political henchmen.

  • 1

    Egos are big and all want to win against enemies. That is politics. But look beyond for statesmanship. There is an unjust but realistic battle here. SAITM MBBS doctors are tossed about with a legally valid verdict of internship, which must come about. SAITM Institute is making the mistake of accepting every political solution which has basically come from a document of clueless SLMC deans who know how to warm chairs, but do not know how to run hospitals. Aiming to close SAITM too, they are throwing SAITM into the GMOA dens in hospitals, their fried brains not understanding that hospitals are obstructed and controlled GMOA territory.
    Who listens to SLMC crazy suggestions anymore having watched their marxist antics against SAITM, judiciary calling it violation. GMOA too rejected SLMC suggestions through political pathway being emptied on SAITM. Quite rightly too. Unless SAITM goes as authorized interns, the terrorists will attack. They must intern and hence flow in line with how GMOA controls hospital workings, appointments, transfers etc which they have grabbed from the health ministry over the years. GMOA terrorism can be controlled by essential services etc for a period for the sake of poor suffering patients, but GMOA conscience is hardened. They will call the tune in govt. hospitals, over a long period after this govt. SAITM doctors need the long term, not just beggars crumbs.
    To oppress them till they die is unjust.
    The govt. eventually has to nationalize SAITM to come into alignment with the present health ministry out workings to provide free health service to the remote areas. Shortage of doctors is a fact. Cant have 2 systems. The faster the take over, the less trouble for all concerned, whatever their motives. The Supreme Court verdict has to be obeyed eventually to get justice, law and order.
    Long term management of SAITM Institute is separate issue. Dr. Neville Fernando is to be admired and commended for having brought the Institute up to its present excellence. It includes grateful hearts. The time has come for wider expansion and this will surely come.

  • 1

    Several trade unions feel that SAITM is exclusive. Is it?

    The “Standardisation” of the early seventies came about because those affected were in the wrong side of the language-divide.

  • 1

    GMOA strike today might align SAITM and NFTH better under the ministry of health giving all the clinical training needed with the excessive influx of patients. Money has value in such situation of (“FOR PROFIT”) to build temporary accommodation for non fee paying patients which can later become a permanent feature of the hospital surroundings.
    Live and learn in the daily progressions of (( ‘Incredible Providence’. All extra clinical training needed by SAITM is coming to their feet for treatment. Necessity is the mother of invention. Dr. Neville Fernando should put up some temporary, emergency tents around the NFTH, get temporary beds, accommodate nurses and staff, release all his students to get all the training needed, supervised by the hospital consultants with intense clinical training and on the spot testing, day and night. Post MBBS too need to help and supervise and train pre MBBS and get some teaching experience as well. They will then not need ERPM mafia, suggested vindictively by the SLMC deans. Should not look at financial angle at this stage. All the temporary structures around NFTH should become permanent non paying wards for the people of the region. SAITM can get sufficient training for future practice, only if they treat the helpless poor as well.))
    God cares for the poor crying out to him daily for help and justice.

  • 0

    I hear that from colombo district only about 200 can enter the medical college every year.Even those getting 2A’s and a B get knocked off.Effectively it has become a 3A affair to enter medical.So why doesn’t the govet legislate that those who have just missed entering the medical faculty can enter SAITM.Nobody else should be allowed to enter it in the future.I don’t think anyone including the GMOA will object to this.

    wE have to give some relief to those who are dying to do medicine and have scored excellent results and are unable to follow their dream career.Besides the aging population of srilanka also will desperately need them in the future.

    another rule that must be made is after passing out of our universities regardless of what faculty you are in,it is mandatory to serve the country for ten years before migrating to another country.They are depriving someone else who might have served the country when they take a place in the universities and then go abroad.

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