The Cardiology Unit of the Colombo National Hospital, which performs the most number of heart surgeries in the island every year, has been closed jeopardizing the lives of patients states the General Secretary of All Ceylon Medical Officers Association Dr. Jayantha Bandara.
The OTJ theatre which contains intensive care units was closed 20 months ago in April 2016 and the OTC theatre was closed on 1st December this year points out Dr. Bandara.
Most of the by-pass operations are performed in OTJ theatre and at present, there are more than 3000 patients in the list awaiting by-pass surgery points out Dr. Bandara adding that all operations of these patients have been stopped.
Dr. Bandara says five specialist Heart Surgeons are attached to the two theatre complexes and they perform 900 to 1000 surgeries every year. He said there are about 7000 patients waiting for by-pass surgery and every year about 2500 new patients get added to the list.
Mr. Bandara said only 22 specialist Heart Surgeons serve in the country and 6 of them serve only the private sector he added. Three of them are Indians and the other three are Sri Lankans.
He said there are two specialist Heart Surgeons each in Karapitiya, Kandy and Jayawardenepura hospitals and said money has to be paid for all surgeries carried out at Jayawardenepura Hospital.
Dr. Bandara said cardiology units have been opened and specialist doctors have been appointed to Kurunegala, Anuradhapura and Jaffna hospitals but heart surgeries have not been performed as there are no necessary facilities in these hospitals for such surgeries.
Dr. Bandara says in a situation where both theatre complexes in Colombo National Hospital have been closed down the lives of those patients who are unable to spend money for their surgeries are in jeopardy. He said a situation has come in which heart patients die while they await surgery.
The General Secretary of All Ceylon Medical Officers Association Dr. Jayantha Bandara says what is being carried out is the sordid act of taking one step towards privatization of health services and emphasized a struggle should be carried out against the move to close down the two theatre complexes on the pretext of carrying out renovations and demanding faculties for other hospitals. He said his union has already arranged to rally patients, the public and other trade unions to carry out a massive struggle to win and protect the people’s right to free health services.