By: Isuru Parakrama
Colombo (LNW): The issuance of a new circular by the Ministry of Health to all health officials restricting them from providing information to the media without prior consent of the department heads has met with immediate backlash by health professionals, in what they call it a severe blow in the head against the freedom of speech and expression of the health employees.
The circular in question was singed by Secretary to the Health Ministry Janaka Shri Chandraguptha and asserts that disciplinary action will be taken against any official that provides information to the media, without the consent of the relevant department head.
The circular affects all officers in the Health Sector including Provincial Health Secretaries, Heads of institutions of the Ministry of Health, Provincial Directors of Health Services and Regional Service Directors.
The said circular has not clearly mentioned the provisions of the Establishments Code which concern the representatives of trade unions or health professionals’ associations, the Joint Council for Professionals of Supplementary Medicine said.
The circular in question was deliberately issued with the intention of suppressing the voice of the trade unions, alleged Council Chief Ravi Kumudesh, warning that trade union actions will be taken if the government proceeds with this communique to arbitrarily suppress the freedom of speech and expression of the health employees.
The Council added that an explanation is expected from the Health Secretary in this regard, and urged him to revoke the communique in question.