Sri Lankan doctors go on strike

2017-06-24 22:33


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Colombo - Tens of thousands of patients were left in the lurch by a doctor-led strike at Sri Lanka's state-run hospitals, a consumer rights group said on Saturday.

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), the island's biggest trade union of doctors, stopped work on Thursday to demand the government close down a private medical college established in 2008, protesting its allegedly poor standards of education.

The strike has affected tens of thousands of mostly poor people who seek free medical care at state-run hospitals, unable to afford treatment at private facilities which have remained open, an official at the National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection said.

Local media reports said the affected hospitals were turning away patients requiring emergency medical attention in some cases.

Criminal prosecutions

"Poor people in hospitals are pleading for their lives as doctors refuse to treat them," said the consumer group's chief Ranjith Vithanage.

"My own mother is in a state hospital battling for her life."

He said striking doctors should face criminal prosecutions over any deaths resulting from the action.

Hundreds of students from state-run universities stormed the health ministry on Wednesday and smashed cars and furniture in a bid to pressure the government into closing the private medical college.

The government has insisted that it will not interfere with people's freedom to choose private higher education.

Read more on:    sri lanka

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