By Don Asoka WijewardenaThe Government Medical Officers’ Association yesterday accused the Health Ministry of failing to install a proper elevator system at the five storeyed Jaffna Teaching Hospital, where the lifts currently in operation function only up to the2nd floor.
(GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that in-patients, especially surgical patients, admitted to the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors, had to be carried by labourers.
Some labourers who were tasked with carrying the patients to upper floors had developed back trouble and had to be operated on, Dr. Padeniya said.
When contacted, Jaffna Teaching Hospital Acting Director Dr. Sri Bavandraraja said that nearly one year ago, the Health Ministry in co-ordination with the Jaffna hospital, placed an order with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to extend the lift service up to the 5th floor. The CEB Elevators Branch wanted Rs.8.1 million to install additional elevator units.
He pointed out that it was extremely difficult for hospital labourers to carry post-operative patients to upper floors by hand at all times as the existing elevators worked only up to the 2nd floor. The hospital authorities had been reminding the CEB to install additional elevators, but the request had fallen on deaf years. Each floor had four wards and there were at least 40 patients in each ward.
When contacted CEB Chief Engineer, Elevators, D. U. Amarasinghe said that all required spare parts for the upgrading the elevator would arrive in Sri Lanka at the end of this month. The CEB installed the elevator only up to the second floor as the Health Ministry never asked for the service to the upper floors.
"The CEB has received Rs.8.1 million to extend the elevator unit up to the 5th floor, but there was an inadvertent delay by the foreign supplier. I am certain that when I get down the required parts from abroad, I will be able to extend the service up to 5th floor," Amarasinghe said