The Board of investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka granted approval on the 31/03/2008 to the Dr. Neville Fernando Investment Company (pvt) Ltd to set up a Higher Education Institute.
The application to the BOI clearly states that the name of the institution is South Asian Institute of Technology & Management (SAITM) (please note Letter “M” denotes Management; not Medicine).
The application did not include a proposal to set up a medical school.
But as Health Sciences was mentioned as one of the areas for which there was going to be a training programme, the BOI gave the approval on the condition that the approval of the health ministry be obtained prior to providing training in Health Sciences.
A few months later, SAITM started a ‘Medical School’ without health ministry approval, clearly violating the BOI agreement.
Unfortunately to our disadvantage, GMOA at that time did not raise their voice loud enough to protest against this illegal institution.
After some time, when Dr. Padeniya returned to the country as a consultant after completing his overseas training, he pressurized the GMOA to take a clear stand on this issue.
In 2010, a Committee headed by Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya studied the issue at length & prepared a comprehensive report regarding this ill-conceived Private Medical College (PMC) at Malabe.
Malabe PMC Report
This committee report clearly suggested that the PMC in Malabe was maintaining poor quality, and that there will be a negative impact on the National Health Care delivery system in the future.
The validity of this report was further enhanced in 2012, by a five member committee appointed by then former Hon. Health Minister Mithreepala Sirisena, who also evaluated the situation.
In the meantime, SAITM continued recruiting students to this medical school without the Health Ministry or SLMC approval.
SLMC which is the supreme statutory body responsible for maintaining the quality of medical education repeatedly published notices to public, requesting parents not to enroll their children in this institution.
The Ministry of Health, through a press release; did the same.
When the present GMOA Exco led by Dr. Padeniya came to office in 2011, the GMOA also repeatedly informed the public about the irregularities taking place within this institution. GMOA had direct confrontations with powerful ministers of previous government based on this issue of national importance.
GMOA Stand on PMC
Since 2011, the GMOA General Committee on several occasions discussed the issue of private medical education. It was quite obvious that the general membership & the branch unions had a divided opinion regarding the establishment of private medical colleges.
Therefore, the GMOA General Committee took following decisions,
- Establishment of Private Medical College if at all needed, should be a policy decision of a Government and it should be done only after doing a scientific need assessment.
- Quality of medical education should not be compromised & it should be strictly maintained based on SLMC guidance.
- As there are several irregularities in the establishment of PMC Malabe and also due to the fact that it lacks quality, the GMOA General Committee decided that PMC Malabe should not be recognized as a Private Medical College.
Court Cases and the Current Situation
A MOU was signed on 27-04-2011 between SAITM & the Western province health department to facilitate clinical training of SAITM students at provincial hospitals of the Western province.
In 2014, citing this MOU, several SAITM students’ filed a FR case at Supreme Court (SC FR NO 208/(2014) demanding training at government hospitals.
On this background, the then health secretary, Mrs. Sudharma Karunaratne, wrote to Hon Attorney General on 17-09-2014. Here the health secretary has stated that in principle Hon. Health Minister is agreeable to cooperate with SAITM in order to facilitate the required clinical training at designated state hospitals, in respect of batches registrable under the medical ordinance. The Letter also implies that the SAITM management should adhere to all the laws, regulations, specifications & guidance of SLMC.
When the GMOA were alerted regarding this situation, they protested the decision of the health secretary. (letters dated 29/09/2014 & 01/10/2014 sent to health secretary)
Although this letter was issued, due to the continuous pressure from GMOA & other interested parties, SAITM students were not given any clinical training at government hospitals.
All of a sudden, the students of SAITM again filed a court case charging contempt saying that authorities had violated the court order (S.C Contempt No 03/2015).
GMOA through a motion tried to intervene in this case as we believed that there is no issue of contempt here. (due to the fact that the Health Secretary’s letter covered only the batches registrable under medical ordinance) But unfortunately our request was rejected.
In the meantime, the health ministry through a letter dated 14/12/2015 had assured the court that they will provide government hospitals to SAITM for clinical training.
We learnt that the supreme court will review the progress of the case on 18/01/2016.
Interestingly, the government, through the 2016 budget proposals clearly state that they will not promote or facilitate private medical education in the future.
General Committee Decision & Way Forward
Within the last 2 months, we have had 2 rounds of discussions with HE the President & 3 rounds of discussions will Hon. Health Minister regarding PMC Malabe & other issues. GMOA conducted several press conferences in view of making the public aware regarding this issue.
Besides that, we have prepared a new leaflet on this issue and distributed it to the general public & membership.
GMOA also coordinated with medical faculty student unions and assisted in their struggle against PMC Malabe.
GMOA’s awareness campaign which focused on politicians was also effectively carried out recently and is still underway.
This awareness campaign is based on the general committee decision taken on 04.01.2016, where the general committee unanimously decided to ask the authorities to nationalize this medical school at Malabe.
The GMOA kindly requests interested members to further study the issue and discuss it at length within all branch unions and send individual & branch union suggestions as to the best way to proceed.
Report of the Committee appointed to look into the matter relate to the proposed PMC at Malabe – Report
Memo: Clinical Training to the Medical Students of Private Institutions Download
21-01-2016 – GMOA General Committee decision on your misinterpretation of facts with regard to Malabe PMC – Letter to Minister Rajitha Senaratne
04-04-2016 – GMOA complain to Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Re: State facilities granted to SAITM (collusively by officials of the Ministry of Health in particular Secretary Mr. Anura Jayawickrama) Download
17-01-2017 – Letter sent to His Excellency the President regarding SAITM – Download
වෛද්ය අධ්යාපනයේ ප්රමිතිය රැකගැනීමට උද්ගෝෂණය කල වෛද්ය ශිෂ්යයන්ට සිදුකළ ම්ලේජ්ජ නිර්ලජ්ජිත පහරදීමපිළිකුලෙන් යුතුව හෙලා දකිමින් රටපුර විරෝධතා ව්යාපාර
- Press Release 02-05-2016 Download
මුල්ලේරිය රෝහලේ රෝගීන්, මාලබේ පෞද්ගලික “වෛද්ය විද්යාලයේ” අවසන් වසර විභාගයට
- Press Release 30-04-2016 Download
වෛද්ය අධ්යාපනයේ ප්රමිතිය රැකගැනීමට උද්ගෝෂණය කල වෛද්ය ශිෂ්යයන්ට සිදුකළ ම්ලේජ්ජ නිර්ලජ්ජිත පහරදීමපිළිකුලෙන් යුතුව හෙලා දකිමු.
- Press Release 29-04-2016 Download
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- Press Release 04-04-2016 Download
මාලබේ වෛද්ය ආයතනය ජනසතු කල යුත්තේ අයි?
- Press Release 15-01-2016 Download
- The Island 16-01-2016 – Docs continue to protest against PMC
- Daily Mirror 16-01-2016 – GMOA accuse Health Minister of going against stance of his predecessor
- ලංකාදීප 16-01-2016 – මාලබේ සිසුන්ට රෝහල් පුහුණුව: ඇමති තීරණයට විරුද්දව උසාවි යනවා
- The Island – 05-04-2016 – GMOA goes to Bribery Commission over SAITM
- රිවිර – 05-04-2016 – රාජ්ය දේපළ අයතා පරිහරණය කිරීම ගැන සෞඛ්ය ලේකම්ට එරෙහිව පැමිණිල්ලක්
- ලංකාදීප – 05-04-2016 – රජයේවෛද්ය නිලධාරීහු සෞඛ්ය ලේකම්ට එරෙහිව අල්ලස් කොමිසමට යති
- Daily News – 05-04-2016 – GMOA lodges complaint against Health Ministry Secretary with Bribery
Satana Sirasa TV 26th April 2016
Watch Rupavahini Debate (27-01-2016) PMC Malabe SAITM Issue
Ada Derana (15-01-2016)
News First (15-01-2016)
GMOA Press Conference 15-01-2016 – Dr. Nalinda Herath
GMOA Press Conference 15-01-2016 – Dr. Naveen Soysa
News First (15-01-2016)
Ada Derana (15-01-2016)
News First (16-01-2016)
23 – 02 – 2016 – Dr. Haritha Aluthge – SAITM Issue
23 – 02 – 2016 – Dr. Niroshan Pradeep – Seretary GMOA BU Awisawella BH – SAITM Issue
03 – 03 – 2016 – Dr. Naveen Soysa – Regarding SAITM
14-03-2016 – Dr. Haritha Aluthge – SAITM Issue
04-04-2016 – GMOA goes to Bribary Commission – SAITM