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 Post subject: Brain Drain: Newly qualified medical graduates leave Lanka
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:36 pm 
Brain drain clogs health sector

Friday, March 25,2005

COLOMBO: THE long delay in granting internship appointments has led to a large-scale brain drain, with newly qualified medical graduates opting to seek greener pastures abroad.

The delay has caused 1600 medical graduates to kill time till their internship appointments are granted in Government hospitals.

The Medical Faculty Students' Union (MFSU) and the Government Medical Officers Association at a joint media conference said Thursday that the cream of their passing out batches were leaving the country to complete their internships abroad due to the delay.

"Britain has opened up facilities for foreign medical students to complete internships in their local hospitals to fill the vacuum in their health system," GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said, adding that unless health authorities take immediate action to settle this issue soon, the country will be deprived of the best of local talent.

The media conference was held at the GMOA office at Colombo 7.

A legal case pending in the Supreme Court against the merit list for post internship appointments is blocking the granting of internships to the medical students.

Fifty two medical students challenged the formula used to prepare this list by the University Grants Commission, in December 2004 resulting in the Court freezing internship appointments until the case is settled.

"Already, 28 students who passed out from the Colombo Medical Faculty have left for England to complete internships and there are more to go," Dr.Padeniya said.

MFSU President Kremlin Wickremasinghe said there were two batches awaiting internship appointments in Government hospitals and the first batch had been waiting for the past 18 months.

"These MBBS graduates cannot prescribe medicine without completing the internships which is compulsory to practice independently. They have completed their GCE Advanced Levels in 1996 and had been without a job for nine years. How many more months have they to wait ?"

He pointed out that further delay will add to the woes with almost all Medical faculties producing a new batch every six months.

"Medical faculties in order to clear the backlog in the past began enroling batches in six month intervals instead of one year. But the internship delay has made this effort futile," he said.

The Medical Faculty Students Union voiced that the present criteria, the Z-Score used to prepare the merit list which came under a lot of criticism must be done away with.

"This was promised by the UGC in writing in response to a protest campaign by the medical students supported by the academic staff last year but was never put into action," Wickremasinghe said.

The GMOA said the merit list deals with post internship appointments and therefore they see no necessity to freeze the internship appointments over the pending court case.

They appealed that the health, education and legal authorities must get together to expedite the court proceedings and settle the issue before it grows into a major health crisis.

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