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By Rathindra Kuruwita

About 50 fresh medical graduates were leaving the country without even applying for their post-intern positions here, Secretary of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Dr. Haritha Aluthge said yesterday.

He said that there was a severe shortage of doctors in peripheral hospitals due to unprecedented migration.

“For almost a year we have been warning the government that doctors are leaving the country. We warned that the peripheral hospitals would lose a large number of consultants first and that later the problem would affect other hospitals. Unfortunately, our warning went unheeded.”

“Now, things have come to a point where young doctors are leaving without even taking up their first appointment here,” he said.

The Embilipitiya Hospital, which treats about 1,000 patients a day, stopped surgeries after the two consultant anesthesiologists attached to it had left the country.A spokesman for the hospital told the media on Wednesday that they had informed the Health Ministry of the situation and the ministry had promised to send replacements.

Last month, some paediatric wards were closed at the Anuradhapura hospital after two specialists left the country.Between 50 and 60 doctors applied for leave each month for employment abroad, GMOA spokesman, Dr. Chamil Wijesinghe, says.

Dr. Wijesinghe told The Island that some doctors had left the country without obtaining leave.

“Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health does not have a list of medical professionals who have left the country. According to information available to us, more than 1,000 left the country last year.Dr. Wijesinghe said even the state-run hospitals in urban areas had been affected by the migration of doctors.

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