COLOMBO: Doctors at start-run hospitals across Sri Lanka began a 24-hour strike, demanding that the government resolve what they say is a salary “injustice.” Two years ago, the government gave an unusually high salary increase to legal officers in the government sector, creating what Dr. Haritha Aluthge, secretary of the Government Medical Officers Association, called “a severe injustice to doctors and other professionals.”
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“For two years, we have been urging the government to rectify this anomaly, but so far no meaningful measures have been taken to resolve the injustice,” he said Wednesday. The strike caused hardships to the thousands of patients who arrived at state-run hospitals, where doctors were providing only emergency treatment.
Government hospitals provide free services, making them very popular with most Sri Lankans. Due to the strike – which began Wednesday morning and is scheduled to end Thursday morning — all routine surgeries and other medical services were not performed. Samantha Perera, 49, who was to undergo a minor abdominal operation Wednesday at the government hospital in Ragama, on the outskirts of the capital, Colombo, said hospital authorities asked him to go home and come back later this week to get a new date for his surgery.