Notwithstanding the retirement age of medical specialists being extended to 63 through a court ruling in light of shortage of specialists, the Government has been still compelled to absorb medical specialists to the hospital cadre, an official said.
Speaking to Daily Mirror, Health Ministry Secretary S. Janaka Sri Chandraguptha said that the consultants who had retired would be requested to work on contract basis.
“They can continue their duty for six months or until the replacement is reported. If replacement is reported before six months, they can work at some other needy hospital if they wish,” he underscored.
“The Ministry of Health would do the needful to get the Public Service Commission (PSC) approval in due course,” Chandraguptha added.
Meanwhile, he said the Cabinet paper with regard to extending of the retirement age of medical specialists from 60 to 63 had been submitted for the reference of Cabinet of Ministers.
“We have also included in the paper that the extension of the retirement age should also be applicable to other doctors as well,” he noted.
Although the Attorney General had informed the Court of Appeal that the health authorities have taken a decision to raise the retirement age of Consultant Specialists to 63 years, the ruling would be effective subject to Cabinet approval.
The final decision in this regard will be made in a week.
A total of 700 doctors who are currently undergoing medical specialist training abroad will be returning to Sri Lanka over the next two years, according to Chandragupta.
He also noted that a total of 300 doctors are set to come back this year, with the remaining 400 expected to return in 2024.
Meanwhile, 160 medical specialists have never returned to the country since 2016, sources confirmed.
Sri Lanka currently has only around 2,007 specialists despite a projected number of 4,299, by 2024. Adding to the issue is the imminent retirement of some 100 medical specialists aged 63 by the end of this year.
Furthermore, 375 medical specialists have migrated for either professional or personal reasons, while others have been absorbed into universities. (Sheain Fernandopulle)