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Major private medical institutions in SL operating without 2024 licences amidst regulatory delays

June 25, Colombo (LNW): Numerous private medical institutions in Sri Lanka, including hospitals, medical centres (channel centres), and laboratories, are currently operating without the necessary annual licences issued by the Ministry of Health for 2024, reports indicate.

Establishing a private medical institution in Sri Lanka necessitates obtaining a licence from the Ministry of Health, which must be renewed annually.

This process is overseen by the Private Health Services Regulatory Council, chaired by the Director General of Health Services. The council comprises 28 members who regulate private medical services across the country.

Each year, by September, private medical institutions are required to submit a form for licence renewal for the upcoming year. This form, accompanied by the requisite fees, must be handed over to the Ministry of Health.

Following this submission, regional health directors conduct inspections to ensure that the institutions meet the necessary standards. Upon satisfactory inspection, the licences are then issued.

However, despite completing all preliminary work for the 2024 licences, the Ministry of Health has yet to issue them, even though more than half of the year has already passed, LNW learned.

This delay proposes the scenario of which major private hospitals and other medical service providers are currently operating without the 2024 licences.

Whilst the public continues to receive services from these institutions, which maintain proper standards, the failure to issue the licences reflects a lapse in accountability to the Ministry of Health.

An investigation into the delay has revealed that an internal crisis within the Private Medical Services Regulatory Council is a significant contributing factor.

Private medical institutions have reportedly inquired about the delay in issuing the licences, but they have only received vague explanations citing various reasons.

The situation not only threatens the integrity of private medical services in Sri Lanka, but further fuels the recent backlashes faced by the island nation’s Health Sector devaluing its global recognition for excellent service provision.

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