Friday, December 11, 2015
Restoration of Private Practice
By Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya
In 1979, private consultation practice was given to the University staff. There was a very interesting story behind it. When Professor Rajasuriya died, the logical successor should have been Dr. David Chanmugam. When Professor D.A. Ranasinghe retired, he should have been succeeded by Professor T.Visvanathan. However for reasons best known to the higher authorities (probably communal) Professor Dharmadasa and Professor D.E. Gunatilleke (Gunti) were appointed to the Chairs of Medicine and Gynaecology & Obstetrics respectively. Both were seconded from the Ministry of Health for two years. During this period private consultation practice was restored to the Ministry of Health Consultants. When the two years were over, both Professor Professor Dharmadasa and Professor Gunatilleke threatened to revert back to the Ministry of Health, if private practice was not given to them. To retain their services (and prevent the 2 logical successors from assuming duties) private practice was given to the University staff.
I was one of the first beneficiaries and I did a little practice at the Sri Lanka Nursing Home, Wellawatte, Central Hospital, Horton Place and Glass House before I went to Galle. The channel fee was Rs.20.00/- only. Dr. Thavarasah used to refer newborns to me. I used to visit MacCarthy Hospital and Frazer Nursing Home to see newborn babies. MacCarthy Hospital was owned by my classmate Chandima de Silva’s family.
At that time Frazer Nursing Home only admitted expatriate whites. As the patients were dwindling they decided to admit other foreigners as well. When one of Mr. M. H. Mohamed’s (who was a Cabinet Minister) relatives wanted to be admitted, he was asked whether it was a “foreign” Mohamed or a “local” Mohamed and told that only foreigners are admitted. When it was brought to the notice of Mr. J.R . Jayewardene, who was the President of the country, he threatened to take over the Nursing Home unless their policies were changed. Then they decided to open the doors to all Sri Lankan patients.