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By Kamal Bogoda

More than 350 doctors had left the country for foreign jobs during the past nine months without obtaining leave, Dr. Priyantha Atapattu, Director of Tertiary Care Services told The Island yesterday.

“352 doctors have left without informing us. We have issued the vacation of post notices and sent them to those doctors through our diplomatic missions,” he said.

Over 50 of these doctors are specialists and a number of young doctors who completed expensive foreign training too have left the country within a few months of their return.

“Training costs about Rs 15 million each. The state spends about Rs 10 million to produce a doctor. Another 15 million is needed to provide specialised training. And then these doctors leave. We are contemplating legal action against them,” he said.

Commenting on Dr. Atapattu’s statement, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), Media Spokesman Dr Chamil Wijesinghe said that more than 1,000 doctors had left the country in the last year.

“We have been warning about this since late 2021. First, it was the instability in the country and now there is the tax burden. Sri Lankan doctors, and health staff in general, are in high demand across the world,” he said.Dr. Wijesinghe said the government had to take concrete steps to address the concerns of professionals to prevent brain drain.

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