Significance of ethical practices in the medical field
Colombo (LNW): In his role as the chief guest at the inauguration of the Annual Academic Sessions (AAS) of the Sri Lanka College of Oncologists (SLCO) on October 13 in Colombo, Emeritus Prof. Janaka De Silva, former director of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM), delivered a comprehensive speech on ‘Postgraduate training and the professional practice of medicine.’
Prof. De Silva, drawing from his experience at the PGIM and the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), addressed key issues related to postgraduate training, the societal expectations of specialists’ professionalism, and the challenges faced in meeting these expectations.
Highlighting the excellence of Sri Lanka’s postgraduate training system, Prof. De Silva noted that post-MD trainees benefit from overseas training, with several qualifications being recognised internationally. Despite the high level of knowledge and skills acquired through this training, he emphasised the importance of professional conduct in determining fitness to practice.
Prof. De Silva pointed out the need for maintaining high standards of professional and moral ethics, respecting patient rights, and addressing the challenges in current training programs. He underlined the importance of doctors prioritising patient care, competence, and staying updated in their professional knowledge and skills.
While acknowledging the efforts in training programs, Prof. De Silva noted areas for improvement, particularly in addressing incidents of unnecessary investigations, irrational prescriptions, false medical certificates, and exorbitant fees charged to patients.
Expressing concerns about the brain drain and protectionism within the medical profession, Prof. De Silva urged specialists to give back to the system that nurtured them. He criticised the disgraceful practice of specialists abandoning their posts and patients without notice, leaving the country secretly to avoid fulfilling their service bonds and other obligations.
Addressing the need for more specialist doctors to serve remote areas, Prof. De Silva called for improvements in both the coverage and quality of healthcare. He emphasised the obligation to provide career opportunities for the increasing number of doctors graduating each year and suggested ways to address the issue, including developing more specialties and increasing mid-level qualifications.
In conclusion, Prof. De Silva urged the medical profession to overcome protectionist ideologies, particularly within professional colleges, to foster the development of sub-specialties and mid-level qualifications.
He spoke candidly about these challenges, noting that his remarks were prompted by the induction of an esteemed oncologist, whom he considered a role model. Prof. De Silva expressed pride in contributing to the professional career of this oncologist.